Mell was attracted to photography young and certainly had the right eye. In the only photo I’ve found of him, he is posing as if squinting into a lens finder. Like a Weegee in sunshine, he traveled light…camera, flash, tripod and a trench coat when the road was slick. But he also had a camera mounted on his dashboard pointing through the windshield and I am sure these photos were shot with it. Like a hard-boiled P.O., whenever California blood was spilled, he was there. Crime, Crash, Insurance Fraud…he squinted through them all in black and white.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Dashboard Photography In The 1940's
Dull Tool Dim Bulb. It appears the dashboard-mounted camera, a mainstay of current police reality television, was invented by a Los Angeles newspaper photographer named Mell Kilpatrick in the 1940's.