Bill Vorbeck

I would like to mention a mentor or mine from Dogtown who taught me a lot about photography. And his partner who were excellent photographers.

Their names are Virgil Bardot and Don Eggleston. I don't know if they were partners or not but I suspect they were. They ran a photo business and record shop located on the Southwest corner of Tamm and West Avenues. It was originally a dry goods store known as Mrs. Catherine's shop.

Mike Newport, Bill Drummond and I took an interest in photography, cameras and developing film we shot with our 620 Kodak camera. It was a hobby started in our teens that I enjoy to this day. We thought we could beat the cost of developing our film so Mike and I built dark room in his Uncle John Doering's basement.

Virgil Bardot, and Don Eggleston was an excellent photographers and were happy to teach us the tricks of the trade. We could go watch and learn as they developed wedding photo's and other pictures they took commercially. We learned quite a bit about how to use light and present your subject and position them in your viewer to get the best of the subject and the background.

His record shop was the only one in the neighborhood and drew quite a large crowd of costumers. That was the era of the Big Bands.

My brother Joseph Vorbeck "I believe" was president of the St. James CYC in the early 1950s and as Headed the first CYC Teen-town at St. James. (He denies he was president but acknowledge he in charge of the establishing the first Teen-town.) I called him and ask him to right his story regarding his involvement and some of his friends in establishing the first "Jamestown" teen town. I told him I would give him a couple of weeks to respond or I would write what little I know about it.

I'm getting somewhat off track here. Don Eggleston used to come to those teen town dances play records from their shop at Tamm and West Park and donated some as attendance prizes. That was a wonderful thing they did for us kids.

I had forgotten their names and had the help of the following people to piece this thing together. I first called Joe Boman because he has a wonderful gift of remembering names, he wasn't quite sure how Eggleston spelled his name and referred me to George Shaffery telling me the Eggleston's lived next door to George.

I called George Shaffery and he confirmed the fact that Eggleston's did live next door to him and told me to call Virginia Eggleston-Lopez who was in the book and lived on West Park.

I called Virginia and we had a long discussion regarding the shop on Tamm and West Park but she couldn't remember her brothers partners last name. She only remembered his name was Virgil. The next day however she called me and gave me his last name Bardot.

Virginia also said she chaperoned at some of those Teen-town dances at St. James.

I wanted to mention Virgil Bardot and Don Eggleston because using what they taught me, my photographs have won several awards in various competitions. I even won a World "Best of the Show" photo competition, none of which would have happened if they hadn't been kind enough to put up with a couple of teenage kids interested in photography.

I almost forgot. When Virgil Bardot moved in above the shop Bill Drummond and I helped him paint his upstairs apartment. Horsing around we painted a big heart with an arrow perching it, you know the type, on the East wall of their living room. He was about to marry or had just married and we were helping fix up his first apartment. We painted it one evening and a few days later when we went into his shop he jumped all over us and brought us upstairs to show us what we had done. We thought be didn't paint the room right. But when we arrived and looked at the East wall of his living room we could see the heart and arrow we had painted on the wall before we began painting it bleed through and you could see it stand out. So we had to put a second coat on that room without his help. So much for horsing around.

Mike, Bill and I enjoyed our hobby all the more from the things, Virgil and Don taught us.

Bill Vorbeck Class 47'


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