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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Selfies Anonymous

KLS reflection in print dryerHi, I’m Ken, and I’ve shot selfies. It has been approximately 3-1/2 months since my last selfie.

I offer up that confession because I’ve made fun of folks who shoot them, most recently at an Ohio University football game I covered last fall. Then, while looking for a photo, I started realizing how many self-portraits I had taken over the years. I have been in serious denial.

One of the earliest I could find was my reflection on the photo print dryer in the Central High School darkroom. The dryer’s shiny metal plates that imparted a glossy surface on the print when it dried served as a great curved mirror..

Not my Budweiser towel

Ken Steinhoff in Ohio Univesity Scott Quad dorm room fall of 1967Early on in one of my Ohio University photo classes, we had to take some self-portraits. This was my reflection in a mirror in the Scott Quadrangle dorm room I shared with two freshmen. The Bud towel belonged to one of them. It was what passed for decoration in what was primarily a freshman dorm.

I’m shooting it with a Mamyia C33 twin lens reflex I bought used from Nowell’s Camera Shop. A serviceman coming back from Vietnam sold it and three lenses for $300. I hated the square format, but 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 was required for at least one of my classes. I sold it as quickly as I could.

Always hiding behind camera

Ken Steinhoff self-portrait 03-07-1968There’s a common theme in most of these photos: I’m almost always hiding behind a camera. This was shot March 7, 1968.

Let’s climb on a rooftop

Ken Steinhoff self-portrait Athens OH 03-07-1968This was taken right after the precvious shot. I figured anybody could take a photo on the ground, so I climbed on top of the Beckley building in uptown Athens to get this portrait with the county courthouse in the background. If you can’t make it good, at least make it unusual. I used that vantage point a lot over the next several years.

The long arm of the photographer

Ken Steinhoff Athens Messenger Photo Lab 10-24-1968This looks more like today’s selfie. My arm must have been longer in those days because I have trouble shooting them today. I know the lens was wider in 1968 and I’m wider in 2014, so the combination of those things may make it tougher. This was shot in the photo lab at The Athens Messenger.

Note the psychedelic poster on the wall. That, like the Bud towel, wasn’t my decoration. I’ll blame Bob Rogers or Jon Webb for it.

Multiple light assignment

Ken - Lila Steinhoff - Bob Rogers apt 11-14-1968 7Lots of photo class assignments were finger exercises to teach us technique. Most of them were intended to be shot in a studio, but I was lousy at studio lighting and I thought it was boring, so I’d work outside the box. I’m sure some of the instructors weren’t happy with the way I bent the rules, but they couldn’t kick the image back because I hadn’t exactly broken them.

This shot was taken in Bob Rogers’ basement apartment on November 14, 1968. (That’s Bob in the foreground.) In the pre-digital days, you didn’t know immediately if you got the shot or not, so you shot multiple exposures to hedge your bets. This picture had three or more lights that had to be balanced, so it took lots of exposures with Bob and Wife Lila being very patient. In this shot, I’m going out to assure her that we are almost done.

Trying something new

Ken Steinhoff  Basketball 12-14-1968When you cover as many high school and college ball games as Bob and I did, you start looking for something different. One night we decided to go as far in as different photographic directions as possible: I set up a camera with a wideangle fisheye lens, and he shot with a 500mm telephoto. So far as I know, that was the ONLY time we ever tried that.

John J. Lopinot was the triggerman

Ken Steinhoff - John J Lopinot in Biltmore in PB c 1977This may not technically qualify as a selfie because my finger’s not on the trigger (or self-timer.) Chief photographer John J. Lopinot and I went on a tour of Palm Beach’s Roaring ’20s Biltmore Hotel when it looked like it might be torn down. (It’s been converted into upscale condo apartments, thankfully.)

We spotted a mirror in the hallway and Lopi took the shot. I like the interesting juxtaposition of the man on the right who shows up twice and the woman giving us the strange look.

My shot from the Biltmore

Ken Steinhoff in Biltmore Hotel c 1977We came upon another mirror later in the walk and I took a solo portrait. I’m shooting with a 24mm wideangle lens and am carrying bodies with 105mm and 200mm lenses.

I loved curved mirrors

Altenburg Foods 07-18-2011I was always a sucker for curved mirrors. I’ve taken some I like better but couldn’t lay my fingers on them at 2 in the morning. This mirror is in the Altenburg Foods grocery store that closed for good shortly after I photographed it.

Barbershop when I had hair

10-24-2011This was taken in what used to be Ed Unger’s Stylerite Barber Shop on Sprigg Street. I used to get my hair cut there when I still had some to cut.

Departure selfies

Mary Steinhoff Ken Steinhoff 11-25-2013Since I’m usually leaving Cape by myself, I’ve had to start resorting to selfies to get the departure shot with Mother. This is the last one I took, and the one I mentioned in my confession above. It was taken November 25, 2013. To see some of the others, you’ll have to go to the gallery below. I need longer arms or a wider lens.

Ken’s photo gallery

Here’s a gallery of me getting older and grayer in my self-portraits. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. Now that I am out of denial, I’ll refrain from making fun of other folks who take pictures of themselves.

8 comments to Selfies Anonymous

  • Mary Seabaugh Francis

    What fun reading and looking through photos tonight ……um……very early this morning………….

  • Alicia Lincoln

    One of my favorite photographers Vivian Maier is known for her selfies. And like you she actually tried to use technique and composition in her self portraits (and of course had the camera in the shot), unlike the selfies of today. Love your selfies!

  • Keith Robinson

    Ken, cool post. It occurred to me, after some reflection (no pun intended as I was typing this), that deep down inside, I think you are very much like me. I’m assuming that you are somewhat, if not very intrigued by history and also marvel at the world and people around you. The camera has allowed you to watch and look more closely while using it as a shield to keep from becoming part of it, while recording what you see for preservation.

    • Keith, I’ve always said that the camera provided this introvert with a license to be nosy. It was my ticket to go places, see things and meet people. And, some fools paid me to use my ticket. Can’t beat that with a stick.

  • Marty

    I really like the one with your mom and the hats.

  • The shot in the lab was pretty typical: Ken leaning back in HIS chair, usually with his feet up on the manual typewriter. Of course, after the work was done…

  • No Lila twisted my arm and insisted she get you for the 25th hour. I hope she made good use of it!

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