The Seattle Times

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Seattle Times Pictures of the Year 2009

April 18: I first photographed Norrie Suder in 1968 for a Seattle Times Sunday magazine story on the Seafair clowns. Now, more than 40 years later, I met up with Norrie again. He's still a Seafair clown and considered to be the dean of them. I photographed Norrie at home transforming his flexible face into a clown. The white powder he's applying sets the makeup so it won't smear. He leaned over his balcony railing outside so the powder wouldn't get on his furniture.

"I grew up in Olympia and got interested in photography in junior-high school. I delivered the Daily Olympian and saved money to buy my first camera, a twin-lens Mamiyaflex. With my parents' help, I built a darkroom in the basement and read everything I could find on developing and printing photographs. While delivering the paper, I would stop at the houses that had The Seattle Times on their doorstep. I would sit on the porch and slowly turn the pages of the paper, studying the photography. I wanted to be a Times photographer and take photos of fires and presidents. Six years later, when I was 21, my dream came true. I have been here ever since. It's the greatest job in the world." — Greg Gilbert