Obituary For Fred D. Bodin
(July 28,1950 -August 28, 2015)
A wise man once said, to be a good friend there are two qualities needed; to be interesting and to be interested.
Fred Bodin had both these qualities. He was interesting, having created and lived the life he wanted as an entrepreneur and artist. And he was interested, having a deep appreciation for all things in life including his community, the persons in his community, his family and his friends.
Fred, age 65, was born in New York City on July 28, 1950 and grew up in Massapequa Park on Long Island with his parents and little sister. It was there at the age of 13 that Fred started his professional photographic career. He took pictures off the TV of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and sold the prints to desperate teens at school. He made a small fortune!
His career continued from there as a photographer for his high school’s newspaper. While attending Alfred G. Berner High School he also did freelance photography for The Massapequa Post. All of Fred’s early creative endeavors earned him a full scholarship to Syracuse University and subsequently a degree in photojournalism, 1972.
After graduating, he settled in Boston developing a freelance photography business and then capturing a rare opportunity to intern at the Museum of Fine Art’s Department of Photography. It was at the MFA that he was able to learn fine artistic skills of darkroom work enabling him to print museum quality images of such masters as Ansel Adams and Jerry Uelsman. He used these skills to aid him in becoming a very successful freelance photographer in the Boston area. His expertise in photographic technique was highly sought after by many major photographers. Over the years his clients included Yankee Magazine, Houghton Mifflin, Little, Brown Inc. and Stock Boston.
Fred first came to the Gloucester area in the early 1980s. He came to focus on writing a book about freelance photography and to explore the possibilities in a place where he felt a tremendous connection. During his time in Gloucester, he made many friends and became active in various artistic associations. He fell in love with Cape Ann’s history, culture and community. After publishing two books, he began teaching part-time at Essex Community College. He also showed and sold his work in a Rocky Neck cooperative gallery. A short time later, he ran his own gallery on Bearskin Neck in Rockport.
His discovery and purchase of a collection of historical glass negatives (late 19th and early 20th century) by the late Alice Curtis led to a new adventure in Fred’s life. The new historic photographs allowed him to blend his love of Gloucester with his mastery of photographic printing. He opened a new gallery, Bodin Historic Photo and Fine Arts, on Main Street in Gloucester. The Gallery remained an icon on Main Street for 30 years.
This photo reminds me of Fred. Obviously, the hand’s firm grip on the rigging captures Fred’s immense inner strength, determination and fortitude. But beyond that, as the darkness creates a mood of mystery in the photo, I always found a bit of mystery in Fred Although we spent many hours together, (especially during the last year and a half) Fred didn’t speak much about his life. We mostly talked about cameras and gadgets. We shared our opinions on photography, both as a technical skill to be mastered and as an art form to soothe our souls, inflame our passions and inspire our thoughts. Much of Fred was a mystery to me.
We often talked about the importance of Fred’s work and our moral duty to preserve the past. His collection of ancient glass negatives allow us a visual connection and visceral contact with the past. I told him that what we do on GMG is much in the same vein. The tiny slices of time we post will, I fervently hope, be preserved so that 150 years from now people in Gloucester will have the same opportunity to travel backwards in time and pay us a digital visit.
Finally, this photo hides the subject’s face. In a sense we are all anonymous; we all hide our faces. The strengths, weaknesses and characteristics that shape us; that bundle of quirks and mannerisms, visions and quests that are the mold into which our bodies fit are what we are and are what we will remember when our loved ones pass away.
For the past several years, Fred and I attempted to locate a twelve foot high boulder that appears in one of his historic prints. We were able to piece together the approximate location from visual information in the photos and from handwritten notes that accompanied them. But, by the time we were ready to venture into the woods on foot to further our search, Fred’s declining health intervened and we never found the boulder.
This search was Fred’s idea, his adventure, his attempt to enter the old photo and be at the same place where it was created. It seems just too sad to pursue this exploration and journey without him. But the memory of the excitement it stirred in Fred will always be with me as will his friendship, wisdom and mystery.
The Schooner COLUMBIA arrived in Gloucester today. COLUMBIA is a 141 foot steel hulled replica of the original fishing and racing schooner that was built in 1923 and called Gloucester its home port. Columbia will be berthed at Maritime Gloucester through the Schooner Festival with runs from September 4 through September 6.
Many thanks to Capt. Tom Ellis, Capt. Heath Ellis, Kay Ellis and the crew of THOMAS E LANNON for their hospitality and warmth.
I try to attend this every year. To me, it embodies the soul of Gloucester.
There are 46 peaks in the Adirondack Mountains that exceed 4,000 feet in elevation. Nine years ago my niece Ellen set out to climb all of them. A few days ago she succeeded.
Marty (38 peaks and holding)
Click the little gear in the lower right to watch in high definition (1080).
The man at the wheel has witnessed many storms like the micro-burst that hit the Boulevard Saturday evening. This photo was not taken on Saturday, but I think of it every time we get walloped.
More on the Governor’s visit will be posted later.