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© John R. Hamilton, 1964
John Ford, during filming of Cheyenne Autumn in Monument Valley, Arizona.
“There was a funny incident with John Ford. We were working on the film, Cheyenne Autumn, and I wanted to get a photograph of John Ford with the magnificent buttes in the background. I kept asking. John Ford kept saying, “No, no I’m too busy now, don’t bother me. Maybe later, much later.” Finally one day, without any warning, he said, “we are going to do it today. In fact, right now!” At that moment I had two cameras around my neck. He barked at me, “get into the car,” and we drove to this special spot, that I picked out weeks ago, where all the monuments were spread out in a line in a beautiful vista. Out came his chair, and he stood where I wanted him to stand and started posing. I had enough film in one camera for 20 exposures and 4 exposures in the second camera (a special Pannon Camera 120 mm film with a 180 degree wide angle lens that moved from left to right on the camera). I took my pictures and got just the photograph I wanted and used up all my exposures. But there was Mr. Ford, still posing. Now I am shooting pictures with an empty camera. I just couldn’t tell him that I am out of film. He would go nuts. We went back to the set and I never told anyone that I was shooting the legendary director John Ford most of the time with an empty camera. I consider this photograph of John Ford standing by his chair with those majestic monuments in the background a true icon." -- John R. Hamilton
This photograph has appeared in LIFE, LOOK, TIME, Saturday Evening Post and ESQUIRE.