When I worked in Downtown Chicago my office was about a block away from Central Camera which is one of the oldest, if not the oldest camera store in Chicago. This photo was taken during my December 2014 visit to Chicago which was the first time I had been in the store in 25 years. The store looked old when I first saw it in the 1970’s and looks more like a relic now. Starting in the early 1970’s, I spent at least one lunch hour a week in that store and sometimes more and in the process got to know Gene who was a noticeably handicapped black man of small stature and Joe who was one of the sales people. Gene had a bad left hand with fingers that were bent and completely curled almost into a fist. He also limped on his left side but despite those handicaps he had worked himself up to being one of the store managers. Gene always smiled and had a really great knack for discretely making the appropriate “politically incorrect” comment (before they were called politically incorrect) at just the right time. He knew I was interested in photography but was working within the confines of a restrictive financial budget and he occasionally introduced me to photographers who were producing good work within similar financial restrictions. Central Camera is a very narrow store with counters on both sides of the store and a sort of walkway down the middle which would get very busy and congested during the Christmas season. One day I was standing talking with Gene when a guy, that looked like one of the homeless people off the street, walked in with a camera held by a narrow non descript strap slung over his shoulder. He headed for the back room where the repair service was located. As he passed I noticed that there was Duct Tape wrapped around the back side of the camera and it seemed to be holding the back of the camera closed. I turned and made some comment to Gene that the guy was probably heading back toward the repair shop to find out how much it was going to cost to get his camera repaired. But since I knew that repairs were expensive he probably would not be able to afford the repair. Without missing a beat Gene walked over to the waist high swinging gate that allowed him to pass through the counter area, he made a big deal about looking both ways down the walkway then crossed over to the display of books in the rack on the other side of the store. He pulled a book, laid it on the counter then fumbled through some pages till he found a spot. He then advanced a few more pages then called me over and pointed to the page. He said, this photo and those on the follow pages (it was a high quality picture book of B&W Street Shots of Chicago) were taken by that guy with that taped up camera. Then with his usual smile and knowing that I would not be overly offended he looked at me and said “ and what have you published”. He then pointed out that the guy was probably headed back to the photo processing room to check on a processing order. Gene later went on to say that he had many examples of such work being done by people with so called inferior equipment and that it was not the equipment that made the photograph but the photographer. Though I believe he had no intentions of degrading/insulting me, Gene had put me in my place. That day I learned to never criticize the photographic equipment any photographer used but rather to be intrigued by what they were able to accomplish and to ask them to share their techniques of extracting the most from the equipment they had.