Claude “The Master” Butler — shoeblack, counselor & friend, lover of jazz

Claude “The Master” Butler

I met Claude Butler when he 1st moved to Norman in . He had an arrange­ment with the man­age­ment at Sooner Fashion Mall (now called “Sooner Mall”) in which they let him set up a shoeshine stand rent-free near the mall’s cen­ter court. That arrange­ment ended in when some cor­po­rate bean-coun­ters got wind of it and demanded that Claude either pay rent, or move out. But that was long enough for Claude to make some last­ing friend­ships and loyal clients, includ­ing one with Heisman Trophy win­ner and local busi­ness­man Steve Owens, for­mer University of Oklahoma foot­ball coach Barry Switzer, and Olympic medal­ist Bart Connor. Your hum­ble chron­i­cler counts him­self as a Friend of the Master, as well.

Claude and I really hit it off when we dis­cov­ered a mutual love for mid-twen­ti­eth-cen­tury jazz, espe­cially the small ensem­ble bop and post-bop jazz exem­pli­fied by Miles, Trane, Dizzy, Monk, Mingus, and their con­tem­po­raries. On occas­sion, we’ve set­tled in on my sofa to watch a motion pic­ture biopic of 1 of our jazz heroes. I’ve com­plained to him about the one time I ever got to see Miles play, only to have the night spoiled by a cou­ple of loud drunks in the audi­ence. Claude dropped by to ask me for help re-wiring his loud­speak­ers, so I made us drinks and took this por­trait. It was shot on a Wista 45DX field cam­era with x-ray film. For more on my use of x-ray film, see my OKIE-X project page. Claude may be found at his shoeshine stand on week­days at the , 601 West Eufala Street in Norman, Oklahoma.

Unknown maker 250mm Petzval
1/​25th second
Exposure Index
Key: Paul C. Buff Einstein -5.2ƒ with sil­ver beauty dish & 30° grid
Background: Paul C. Buff Einstein -4.2ƒ with 7″ reflec­tor & 10° grid
Fill: 42″ col­lapsi­ble reflec­tor, silver
Carestream CSHB
Pyrocat-HD 1:1:200
semi-stand in an HP-Combiplan day­light tank
Epson Perfection v850

About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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