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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 9. 9 May 1972

Devon Biggs — The Man they Couldn't Photograph

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Devon Biggs

The Man they Couldn't Photograph

Bus stop cartoon

Round One

A reporter (me) and a photographer just happen to be outside Devon's house (144 Kelburn Parade) one evening when who should pad down the path but Devon himself, off for his regular run, Its no trouble spotting him - know anyone else who goes for a run every morning and every night carrying a transistor radio? l mean, who else do you know who is convinced that world war 3 might break out at any minute?

Anyway, out he comes, 'click' goes the camera, and Devon runs past seeming not to notice. Incredible! He's been avoiding the camera for years and its as easy as this to snap him!

We walk off up the road, the job over. Uh oh - job not overhere's Devon down the road towards us, he must have heard the the camera after all. Hello, he's pulling his jersey up to cover his face ! I thought he'd grown his beard to do that ! The photographer is too dumbfounded to snap this trick. Devon mumbles 'Just Taking A Look' and shuffles off to his home.

Half an hour later we are walking back down Kelburn Pde; blathering away - hello, Devon whizzes past, he's been following us, listening to every word ! We laugh considerably. Its so hard to believe that he's for real And he's angry, he shouts 'Jesus you 're amateurs !' And he's right !!

Later in the darkroom the crucial shot doesn't develop - the negative is completely white. The Biggs hex on cameras wins again !

Blurry photo of a man running

Masked man in Kelburn - It couldn't happen here ? -!! jerks this time because I was trying to get a close up.

Blurry photo of a man running

'"A near thing - I'll have to liquidate this snoop"

Blurry photo

"Now we'll see who can run"

- no apology for trembling camera.

Blurry photo of a man running

"I'll give up this chase, hand it over to 'Operations'. The transistor can't be a walkie-talkie after all!

Round Two

A few days later I set out alone except for an Instamatic. The plan is to meet a girl (handy to have a witness) at 7.30am; hoping to catch him on his morning run. While I'm walking up Kelburn Pde to the rendezvous up Grove road beyond Devon's place, I espy the man himself, so to speak, running towards me down the parade. I slip into a convenient garage, hoping to ' 'shoot' him unawares. Pad pad - Click- but he's got the drop on me and his hand is over his face and he's cursing me even as I shoot."Now well see who can run "he growls so I take the hint and hare off up the road, he's after me but he doesn't catch me. Near his house there is somebody to witness any violence so he ducks inside. I locate my witness and we sneak up by his side door, overhear him frantically asking the phone operator to put him through to 'operations'. They can't have paid much attention to him because no police car turned up.

We wander off, knowing that he'll be out 'to get another look'. And surely enough 20 minutes later he surprises us at the top of of Kelburn Pde. This time he's wearing a sort of a mask, a piece of white material to hide his features. Not an unwarranted modesty in Devon's case (remember his election photo a few years ago - he substituted a photo of an ape - or was it just another indistinct shot ?). But Devon's not doing it for modesty, Its his job, to prance around Kelburn at 7.50 in the morning wearing a mask !Maybe he even thinks this is normal, acceptable behaviour I Anyway; he takes a swing at me does this merry jester, but he's not serious because I've got a witness. And he mouths more foul imprecations. Really, Devon, in front of a lady!

This time we develop a series of jerky shots, none of which reveals the face. Round two to 'the professional', but it was a close one!

Cut out images of a man

Off to work in his Govt dept -love that tranny !

(Background painted out, we don't give everything away)

Round Three

The only solution is a telefoto lens or an invisible site. One morning spent in a car proves fruitless - we arrived minutes after his run and he must have known we were there - he didn't come out to go to work.. Round three to Devon.

Round Four

Devon never even knew about this one - we do make a bit of an effort to avoid victimisation I Devon on his way to work and us in an upstairs window was the lucky combination. Unfortunately the cameraman wasnt quick enough with his telephoto lens, so the best we've got is a murky shot not a studio portrait.. Round four we'll have to call a draw.

We're throwing the competition open and we'll offer a prize for a perfect picture of Devon's countenance. The nature of the prize will have to be kept secret of course - but anyone guessing 'ayear's subscription to Newsweek' wouldn't be far out .

by R.E.Porter

Cartoon drawing of a man

Last week Salient mentioned a rumour that the Vice-Chancellor had not included all the information from Brig. Gilbert when the V-C passed on the Brigadier's reply to Peter Cullen. Peter Cullen has since seen the Brig's original letter and reports that in fact it has not been censored.

Mr P.Cullen

President .V.U.W.S.A.

Dear Mr Cullen

Brigadier Gilbert takes the view that as a result of the Hutchison report any communication between his service and the university must be through the ViceChancellor. As a result, he has sent me your letter of 17 April to him together with a note of his replies for communication to you. This letter is therefore to give you those replies and they are as follows:
2.There are no members of the service currently enrolled as university students.
3.Yes, to the University authorities concerned.
4.There was consultation in 1967, subsequent to the Hutchison Report between the Service and my predecessor. There has been no occasion for consultation between the Service and myself. In 1970 there was consultation with the authorities of another University.

Yours sincerely

Vice - Chancellor