As a legal photographer, Bob Walden, 63, has spent decades chronicling mishaps, oversights and their human consequences.
In his time, he has mostly photographed accident scenes and victims for plaintiffs in liability suits of all types.
Since starting his legal photography business at age 39, Walden has shot nearly 10,000 cases. Over the years, he counted firms like Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo, Bornstein & Emanuel and Mark E. Seitelman Law Offices among his clients. "He could make photos impressive but still dignified. The guy was a pro," said Robert Sullivan of Sullivan Papain. "He wouldn't go for the horror that a judge would find to be too prejudicial."
Walden never asked subjects to sign release forms and, as a result, avoided exhibiting to the public work identifying his subjects. "It's a trade off. I'm grateful to make a living. That might have to be enough," he said.
When Walden retired from legal photography last month, a major factor was adult-onset Spinal Muscular Atrophy, an incurable condition that has wasted muscles is his legs. Walden says he's not sad to be leaving. "I'm ready to move on," he said.
Walden's work can be found at www.bobwaldenphoto.com.
Q: Why did you become a photographer?
A: Being a photographer was my last (and best) choice. After working at many different jobs such as caseworker, Census Bureau interviewer, cab driver, postal employee (clerk, carrier, mechanic and custodian), computer programmer, etc., I was determined to find a job I liked, that used a creative skill, where I could work for myself and help others. I had been "taking" photos for a few years until I realized that raw talent alone wasn't enough and I went back to college and learned the craft of photography so that I could "make" photographs.
Q: How did you start taking photographs for lawyers? How much of your business comes from legal work?
A: In my early 20s, after I got a B.A. degree in sociology, a lawyer friend asked me to take photographs for two of his cases. The idea that this could be a career path for me lay dormant for the next 15 years.