Disaster Strikes Photographer


The worst possible thing that could happen to me from my photography work at Bouchercon happened. My chip reader, the mechanism that transfers all of the photos I shoot, and that I use to upload all my hard work for you and others to see, managed to erase and reformat two days of work on the little chip in the camera where the photos are stored.

Instead of properly uploading all the files to my computer, it reformatted the damn card. The card reader cooperated for two days but then something went south. It is now sitting in my garbage can. I had shots of the Anthony awards, on Saturday night,  and shots from the closing panels today. I was saving my absolutely best and most defining shots for Murderati. My wife implored me to take the card and reader to a specialist. All gone, and the computer says there is no data on the card. This is the equivalent to exposing rolls of film by accident. Piss on it.

In any event I have 250-300 photos from the first two and one half days that worked. But here you have ten defining photos from the whole affair. No awards, no photos in the Frank Lloyd Wright building where the award ceremonies and subsequent reception were held, but I have some for you, thank god. BTW, Mary Reagan took this photo of me as I took one of her for her blog.


Alex Brett, my wife Maureen, myself, Rick Blechta, Carol from Reviewing the Evidence, and another friend all went out for Japanese food on Saturday night after the awards, and we all talked about the highs and lows of our B’con experience. I have shared with you my disaster, but it was not my worst moment because it is something I can get fixed quite easily. Art is not always pretty.

I give you a photo of Barbara Seranella which captures my best and worst moment. Her liver is failing. She needs a new one. She speaks about it quite openly and she is also fighting Hepatitis C. I do not put this photo here for you to think I am being cruel. She is a courageous human being who moved the entire audience to tears with her acceptance speech for winning the best Short Story Anthony Award (her first ever mystery/fan award according to Barbara).

This was the best moment of the conference for us all. She has a huge challenge ahead in the next month when she is evaluated for a third transplant and her fourth liver if you include the one she was born with. She dragged herself to Bouchercon and many would question why. This woman has a zeal and a will to live like no other, and we now all know about her resolve and need to be with her friends from the mystery community. She does not want letters or notes from anyone about how she is doing, she wants you to tell her stories. By the end of the weekend she looked better! I came up to her on Sunday morning in the dealers room and told her that she looked great and had better energy. She was pleased to hear that. Let us all pray that she gets the help she needs and pulls through. She is an amazing woman.

Barbara_and_jim Barbara_at_the_opening_ceremonies_1


I also want you to meet Judy Watford, a blind fan at Bouchercon. Judy is another amazing woman who hosts a radio program for the blind, loves mysteries and reads with a special mechanism that reads out the words as you run your finger over the page. She interviews authors as well on her program. Judy is a fantastic, enthusiastic human being. Say hello to Judy Watford.


And how about your Simon and Denise, eh???? So nice to meet you and catch your buzz. I did not realize Simon was an Englishman living in California. I love the English, although I am Scottish by heritage so you can imagine that it was so great to see MC Beaton, Val Mcdermid, and Denise Mina, who is so Glaswegian you have to ask her to slow down a bit when she speaks. Glaswegians speak differently than a lot of other Scots. If you ever rent the film "My Name Is Joe", a brilliant little film about an ex-con in Glasgow who is trying to make it onto the straight and narrow, they put English subtitles at the bottom of the film so you can read what they are saying. It’s a hooooot, man.


Here is a lonely reviewer from Deadly Pleasures who wanted his picture taken so I obliged. Larry Gandle seem to be having fun all weekend. He and George Easter, the editor of Deadly Pleasures,  were in the dealers room most of the time. This man loves mysteries and thrives when he is around like minded people. I love to tease him about his reviews, but in fact we are good pals and I have grown fond of him over the past few years. I am fond if him because he is a passionate human being, and passion is what Bouchercons are all about. It really is a four-day love fest, where you get to rub shoulders with all the stars, the new stars, the future stars, and the established stars. And let’s face it, without zealous readers and fans, there would be no stars. It takes two, you write the words, we read them. This is our dance with all you authors.


Speaking of the star maker machinery, I would think that many authors including my wife, Laurie King, and many more, would not even be in Madison if it were nor for Ruth Cavin, the 87-year-old senior editor from St. Martin’s Press. She has given so many authors their start and boy, can she pick ’em. My wife Maureen still loves Ruth, as she edited her first four books and helped immensely with Maureen’s self-confidence as a newer writer. Her mind is still sharp as a tack. Keep reading and writing folks; it will serve you in the later years of life. I plan to.



But let us not forget the booksellers. Here is Wendy, the manager from Sleuth of Baker Street. This is all a dance of writers, publishers, booksellers, readers, and credit cards. Those dangerous little plastic cards we carry around in our wallets when we go to these events. Go to a panel, run into the dealers room, plunk down your ccs. A dance. Here is Wendy, and Mystery Mike with Lee Child. Two of the nicest booksellers at B’con. Give these people your business, they appreciate it and love to talk about books.




Well that’s it. I hope to do this again for you soon. Perhaps at Magna Cum Murder. But I will give Pari my photos and she can do the copy if she wants. It’s been great fun and I am appreciative of the support for my work from you guys. I leave you with a friend I made on a walk about.  It was politely pointed out to me from my own blog that what I thought was a bull is in fact was a cow because of her udders. What do I know? A city boy from Toronto. I thought just bulls had horns, eh?

Iden Ford grew up in NYC and moved to Canada in 1968. He came from a family of film and theatre parents who met just after the war in a show called On the Town. Iden is married to Canadian author Maureen Jennings and they have been together since 1979. Right now he is a fitness trainer by trade, but is attending Ryerson University in their photography program. He plans to work as a full time photographer and business assistant to his wife in the near future.
You can reach Iden at the following virtual coordinates:
Iden Ford

9 thoughts on “Disaster Strikes Photographer

  1. Naomi


    Thanks again for providing this poignant Bouchercon report for all the Murderati readers.

    A special note about Barbara Seranella–she will be awarded the inaugural Dennis Lynds Memorial Award for Social Consciousness in Crime Fiction at the MWA/LA’s annual Marlowe Banquet in November. Joseph Wambaugh will receive the Marlowe lifetime achievement award.

    Can’t wait to see your photos of Magna Cum Murder, Iden!

  2. B.G. Ritts

    Great pix, Iden!

    A note about Judy Watford — she is the woman who won the auction item for a Sunday breakfast and to go shooting with Zoë Sharp. When she won, Judy got the loudest applause during the entire auction. Everyone (except the man bidding against her) was rooting for her to win.

  3. JT Ellison

    Iden,I’m so sorry you lost your pictures! I imagine that was incredibly frustrating. But those you did provide are wonderful. I’m so happy you showed some of the soul of Bouchercon, instead of just the faces. Thank you.

  4. Iden Ford

    Jt thank you. I think I approached the conference somewhat emotionally vulnerable after having felt the sorrow over the loss of our dear friend Dr. Lyons. So I was looking for what I could do that would be meaningful to people in my photos. When editing the piece and re – reading it, my wife had to console me as I lost it. Pent up emotion and feeling. There may be a silver lining to the story about my photos. I will find out this afternoon and let everybody know.Thanks again.

  5. Elaine

    Oh, Iden! I’m so sorry you lost so many photos. After all the hard work you went to! At least you were able to save Deni & Simon – and not to forget Loveable Larry!

    Kudos to you for your effort – and for this absolutely terrific report. In all time I’ve known you-you’ve managed to introduce me to new writers, make me laugh, tell me about Canada, and yeah -tick me off – but this is the first time you’ve made my eyes moist. Your report on Barbara did that. Thanks so very much.

  6. Pari

    Hells bells, Iden. I’m so sorry about those photos — but I’m glad for these.

    BTW: I love the cows. In NM, several charities ran the same kind of fundraiser with ponies. They were all over the state and marvelous.

    Thank you so much for guest-blogging for us.

  7. Iden Ford

    Okay there is a God in photography heaven and he answered my prayers today. Link to my blog and see two photos of Barbara that were rescued by the lab today, VIstek photography store on Queen St in Toronto, at great expense to me. But all the photos I salvaged are worth it. I am relieved that I did not lose all of my precious work and memories. Thanks to my teacher, photographer Rob Davidson, he informed me on Monday night at school, that it is impossible to erase files unless you write over them, even if your computer and camera say there is nothing there. This is hard to believe but it is true. I learn by trial and error. The lab technicians at Vistek today spent an hour doing the Lazarus thing on my two chips. I also bought a new card reader. So I got some of the photos back from the dead. I also learned a new way of downloading files from the camera to the computer so as to never corrupt files again. See two of Barbara now, one of which I would have given to Naomi to post. Disaster over, technological breathrough for moi and great relief because all of the photos from Maureen’s panel were on the corrupted chip. Phew and thanks.


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