NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

7Dec/106

Senator Edward Brooke and My Beginning!

This photo of then Attor­ney Gen­eral Edward W. Brooke is one of my favorites from his vic­to­ri­ous cam­paign to become the first elected African Amer­i­can Sen­a­tor in the US Sen­ate. It was taken dur­ing the Colum­bus Day Parade in East Boston in 1966.

It all began for me in May of 1966. I was fin­ish­ing up a one year course in pho­tog­ra­phy at the “Franklin Insti­tute of Boston” in Boston’s South End.  I had been chas­ing fires and acci­dents for many years and a cou­ple of years before this my father said to me “you are there why not take pho­tos” and he got me a camera.

I had a great expe­ri­ence at the school and my instruc­tor would be Mor­ris Miller a won­der­ful knowl­edge­able pho­tog­ra­pher from Revere who just hap­pened to be a con­tem­po­rary of my parent’s, one of my Cub Scout lead­ers and I went to school with his chil­dren.  This was an unex­pected plus when I reported to class the first day as we had no idea he had signed on to teach.

He nur­tured a class full of great peo­ple through the fun­da­men­tals of pho­tog­ra­phy and I finally learned what depth of field was and how to stop action.  Before this course I hate to think about how much I did not know.

In May of 1966 a rep­re­sen­ta­tive  (I only remem­ber his first name, Bob) of the adver­tis­ing agency work­ing with Attor­ney Gen­eral Edward Brooke’s cam­paign to win the US Sen­ate seat being vacated by retir­ing long time US Sen­a­tor Lev­erett Salton­stall. He came to the school look­ing for a pho­tog­ra­pher to travel with then Attor­ney Gen­eral Edward Brooke tak­ing pic­tures of him wher­ever he went and what­ever he was doing.

After sev­eral inter­views with many of my class­mates I got the job.  It helped I had a dark­room at home and I told Bob I was used to get­ting up in the mid­dle of the night and keep­ing weird hours.  I am sure there were a lot of other influ­ences like know­ing the right peo­ple and hav­ing great potential.

My first day on the job in May of “66” I went to a meet­ing of Repub­li­can Women at a hotel in Boston.  I took many rolls of film and my main assign­ment was to be there when Mr. Brooke shook hands with any­one and who­ever was trav­el­ing with me would take their name and I would give them the roll of film num­ber and neg­a­tive number.

I went home after a long day of sev­eral events, stayed up most of the night into the early morn­ing hours and had 100 or so pic­tures ready to be signed at the Brooke Cam­paign Head­quar­ters the next morn­ing. They were very impressed.

I knew noth­ing about pol­i­tics but knew how to take pic­tures, keep my mouth shut and do what­ever was requested.  It was a great 8 months.  I trav­eled the state from east to west, north and south and met peo­ple who really believed in Brooke and his cam­paign.  I had my first legal drink at age 21 with staffers at a Hol­i­day Inn some­where in the State and I ordered a Tom Collins. I also had my first Mar­tini with the group.

In bet­ter times, Sen­a­tor Brooke with Pres­i­dent Nixon in Boston, mid 1970s.

It was a great time for a naïve 21 year old.  I saw how the real news pho­tog­ra­phers worked and met many national net­work cor­re­spon­dents.  In the Fall of 66 my imme­di­ate boss Joe McMa­hon and another Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral Bill Hay­den drove down to Wash­ing­ton.  We met at mid­night at the Bea­con Hill Head­quar­ters and I drove Joe’s Mus­tang for the next 8 hours to the Capi­tol of the United States. I think we had the top down all the way.

Dur­ing that visit which as an endorse­ment and fund rais­ing event the future Sen­a­tor met with Richard Nixon, who was in-between an elected office, even­tu­ally becom­ing the Pres­i­dent of the United States, Everett Dirk­sen, US Sen­a­tor from Illi­nois, Howard Baker a US Sen­a­tor from Ten­nessee and even­tual Chief Of Staff for Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan.  Baker it turned out was a real cam­era buff although I did not know it at the time and I met sev­eral other elected offi­cials  whose names I for­get.  These were the news mak­ers and I got to take pho­tos of them and shake their hands.

It was a great begin­ning, excit­ing, adven­tur­ous and the chance to meet folks I would have never met with­out this opportunity.

Mr. Brooke was a warm, charis­matic man whose per­son­al­ity and smile were all win­ners.  He was the man of the hour and defeated his oppo­nent Endi­cott “Chubb” Peabody a for­mer Gov­er­nor of Mass­a­chu­setts by hun­dreds of thou­sands of votes.  In an unof­fi­cial pool amongst the staff it was Mr. Brooke’s wife Remi­gia who won the pool.

After the cam­paign was over his pub­lic rela­tions per­son Gerry Sadow got me inter­views at the three Boston papers, The Boston Herald-Traveler, Boston Globe and the Record Amer­i­can.  I met with the chief pho­tog­ra­phers at the three news­pa­pers and only Myer Ostroff the Record American’s Chief saw my poten­tial and hired me.

I had a year’s pro­ba­tion­ary period and my first day on the job 44 years ago as of this writ­ing, Novem­ber 22, 1966 I wore a suit and tie. I walked into the Record Amer­i­can at their orig­i­nal office at 5 Winthrop Square in Down­town Boston and waited out­side the photo lab on the third floor for some­one to let me into the labs.

Mor­ris Ostroff, the Chief Photographer’s older brother let me in. He was a short man who always was smok­ing a long cigar.  He intro­duced him­self to me and said fol­low me. We went down the cor­ri­dor to the print­ing labs there were 5 of them, handed me a sponge and an apron and told me to please clean up the lab, the start of my illus­tri­ous career.

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Oooh, you’re such an inspi­ra­tion. I love this blog!

  2. I really like your blog and i really appre­ci­ate the excel­lent qual­ity con­tent you are post­ing here for free for your online read­ers. thanks peace sandro

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  5. There is only one per­son in my mem­ory that could have writ­ten this blog. Specif­i­cally, Stan For­man. We attended Franklin Insti­tute together circa 1965–66. Stan was and is a nat­ural at his pro­fes­sion. I ded­i­cated the bal­ance of my pro­fes­sional years to med­ical imag­ing with GAF and Kodak. I look back at the begin­ning at Franklin Insti­tute — The Best!

  6. Stan, I loved this photo…Reminded me of Memo­r­ial Day, 1966…Candidate Brooke was com­ing down Wash­ing­ton St in Welles­ley, wav­ing, smil­ing, shak­ing hands…A lit­tle kid was watch­ing, chew­ing Turk­ish taffy, as the can­di­date approached, and then stuck out his hand to shake the kid’s sooooper-sticky lit­tle paw! The kid’s mom was mor­ti­fied, “Ohhh, I’m so sorry, he was eat­ing Turk­ish taffy!” but the future-Senator han­dled it with smile, good humor, and per­fect aplomb. (Maybe that wasn’t the only taffy­ish hand he shook that day?)

    Anyway…I WAS THAT KID! :- )


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