REFLECTIONS ON GENE TRINDL
On June 29th 2004, my friend Gene Trindl lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Gene was my mentor, teacher, friend, big brother and always the consummate gentleman. We shared the passion for photography and philosophized about life together.
Gene had a unique style of photography….layback, easy, innovative, attention to detail and thoughtful. He learned about attention to detail when he worked for TV Guide Magazine and sent them a cover shot of two Hollywood stars with an unnoticed Styrofoam coffee cup under their chair. The photo editors, in spite of the prodigious number of covers to his credit, let him know in no uncertain terms this was unacceptable. Remember those were the days when there was no Photoshop® to fix life’s little "owies".
On July 25th TV Guide will have a tribute to Gene Trindl in their magazine.
I teamed up with him on photo shoots in Hollywood for TV shows, on location, at the homes of stars as well as road trips for movie companies. We traveled throughout the West and he taught me how to work with people and how to "see". He taught me not to get rooted to the spot, but to walk around and "see how the light is over here".
Gene was in the process of trying to get his book published on Hollywood Photography when the industry was at its zenith. This was a time when the photographer was the lifeline to the fan clubs and publicity mills.
I was with Gene and Audrey when the diagnosis was given to him. He didn’t even flinch. I wondered if he was so shocked that he failed to comprehend the bad news but all he said was "O.K. where do we go from here". When they got home he turned to Audrey and said, "We have so much to do". She cried and later so did we. Yes, Gene was 80 years old, and you may think that is a lot of years but he was always moving, going, doing, thinking and having fun. He said in spite of the surprise birthday party he had two months earlier, he was really only forty years old.
Gene was recognized by his peers and presented with the Lucie Award at a black tie affair last December for excellence in Portrait Photography. He felt that to be in contention with such an impressive array of photographic gurus was enough of an honor, but to win it was incredible.
It is so difficult to admit to what both Gene and we have lost but he will forever be in our heads and hearts. He will be with us on our photo shoots, whispering in our ears so we get it right.