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Wise Guy - Ship’s Photographer Bob Scarsciotti

by Nov 17, 2019

Top Right Image: Bob Scarsciotti using an Omega photo enlarger in the ship’s photo lab on the 02 level.

Bob Scarsciotti was a troublemaker, a wiry guy with an attitude and a ready smile, an Italian-American from Boston’s North end, an avid Jazz musician, and one of the ship’s photographers.

He grinned as he told me how he sometimes used his camera as a pass to come and go when and where he wanted, to do as he pleased onboard, up to a point, as he recorded life aboard Battleship Missouri during the Korean War.

He was old school, long before digital was even a word, back when photography was a process, a skill you learned, a craft you developed and honed over time.

He used Graflex cameras on board, either the Speed Graphic (pictured left) or a Graflex RB (revolving back) series D, and he was very good at what he did.

As were most photographers of his day, he was as skilled in the darkroom as he was with his cameras, processing film, using an enlarger to make prints, dodging, burning in, running the exposed photo paper through the soup, using all the tricks of the trade, all the while causing trouble, giving attitude whenever possible, and grinning through it all.

Ship’s photographer Bob Scarsciotti visited Pearl Harbor with his shipmates in 2003, confined, somewhat, to his wheel chair... but still a troublemaker.

Arriving on the pier, he looked up at his ship, and asked to visit his old photo lab on the 02 level, one last time, saying “Don’t worry Mike, I can make it.”, looking up with his trusting brown eyes, that smirk, never minding he could barely walk!

Even as he was “resting” on the teak deck a short while later in the passageway outside his lab amidships, he was still smiling, still saying, “don’t worry Mike”; even as four of us helped him back down the ladders to the main deck, he was still grinning, happy as a clam to have come home at last, to have caused trouble one more time, aboard his beloved battleship.

Bob Scarsciotti passed away recently, peacefully, surrounded by his loving family and friends.

Rest in peace my friend. We remember.

On the following pages are a selection of some of images that Bob Scarsciotti recorded while serving aboard Missouri.

Inspecting the breech

Captain Edsall is carried from the ship following his death on the bridge.

Fire mission, Korea, 1952

Christmas cheer, 1952