Thursday, February 21, 2013

Desperately Seeking Gary

This is not the article I thought I would be writing today, but I beg you, stay with me!

Just over a year ago I was reading articles over at Green Skeleton Gaming Guild when I came across a small picture in the right hand column. It was a photo of Gary Gygax that I hadn't seen before. Since then it has become my favorite picture of Gary to date!

The photo is fun, it's whimsical. It captures both Gary and the spirit of fantasy RPG players in a great light. In a strange way just looking at the picture makes me feel happy and of course, nostalgic.

I wanted to find a copy to hang on my wall. I asked around a bit and discovered that the photo was featured in a People magazine article from January, 1980. I tracked down the article but wasn't satisfied with the results. I eventually discovered that you could plug an image into Google to find better quality versions of existing images. In this case however, the next best picture was still not frame-worthy.

Still, it was progress! The larger image was a full-page scan of the article and the photographer's name was listed on bottom left corner of the page. The photographer was a man by the name of Marc PoKempner. I quickly Googled his name (plus the word photography) and found his website and contact info. I sent him an email detailing my journey so far.

It was a shot in the dark, but a shot that paid off! Marc wrote me back within a few hours! While I won't post the entirety of the email here, I'll summarize it the best I can. He congratulated me on tracking him down and confirmed the he indeed was the man responsible for the photo! He went on to describe the shoot briefly, saying, "I didn't know much about Dungeons & Dragons before I shot that assignment, but Gary had the figures, and the tree knot seemed like an appropriate setting - glad to hear that it still has resonance". Awesome!

He also informed me that digging up the negative and making a single 8.5"x11"print would run in the $250 range. That's a lot of GP and a bit out of my price range for a single photo. Don't worry though, hope is not lost! Marc elaborated that the price tag reflects only a single print and that multiple prints would drop the price-per-print.

My question to the community is this: Would anyone else out there be interested in this print? The greater the desire, the lower the price (to a point I'm sure). Is this potentially Kickstarter worthy? If so, it's something I'd be willing to pursue. If not, I'll start saving my pennies!

Thanks for reading and until next time, happy gaming!


  1. Glad you tracked down the photographer! Thanks for the mention! I agree that it is a cool picture of Gary. : )

  2. I'd like one if the price per print could be brought down to around $20. It is a great picture of Gary.

  3. Yep, this one would be worth it. I'd buy one at a reasonable price and I'll bet you could sell an *expletive* load of them via Kickstarter.