Who Was Photog?
May 23, 2003 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Who Was Photog? In 1986, an 11-year-old boy named Nathan Bitner designed a character named Fearless Photog. He won a contest to have his creation made into an action figure in the He-Man/Masters of the Universe line. The figure was never actually never produced. In 2003, a website specializing in 80's junk culture asked Who was Nathan Bitner? (scroll down for the comments). It's a story about call girl named Gemini, working for Bungie (creators of Halo), insurmountable credit card dept, joining the army at 28...
posted by andrewzipp (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm confused, are they for sure the same Nathan Bitner? I wonder if his later con act was a result of his disillusionment over Photog.
posted by BigPicnic at 7:31 AM on May 23, 2003

I can distinctly remember reading an article about the contest in my local paper back in 1986 about Bitner and Fearless Photog. For some reason that name stuck with me. I have even jokingly referred to my camera buff father-in-law as Fearless Photog on occasion. I had no idea that the character was never made. No wonder my father-in-law thinks I am crazy.
posted by samuelad at 7:46 AM on May 23, 2003

hee hee! i love it!

but very sad.
posted by Marquis at 7:54 AM on May 23, 2003

Wow, what a crazy set of connections. Everybody's got a story I guess.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:56 AM on May 23, 2003

I'm confused, are they for sure the same Nathan Bitner? I wonder if his later con act was a result of his disillusionment over Photog.

Yep, they are. At least the bios line up. Scroll down to "Nathan Elery Bitner" on this page about former Bungie employees. It seems to be a brief mention of his life before it all goes down hill.
posted by deanc at 7:59 AM on May 23, 2003

It is definately the same person. This page on Bungie's site has a little bit of biographical info. Ctrl+F then search down for Bitner.
posted by andrewzipp at 8:01 AM on May 23, 2003

Just a small correction - Bungie.org is a fan site. The official website is at Bungie.net. However, Bungie.org is generally considered to be a good and reliable source of information about all things Bungie.
posted by adrianhon at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2003

I remember this contest. I furiously scribbled away, mostly at church, as I remember, working to perfect a fellow named "Nettor." He had a net. I never sent it in.
posted by mikrophon at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2003

Well you would have been competing with Josette d'Ambrosi's runner up entry of Netta. (first link)
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 8:37 AM on May 23, 2003

I got confused in the wording of the front page post, and as I read the story in the last link, I kept expecting that the truth would come out that Gemini the Call Girl had entered the MOTU contest and won using Nathan's name in order to fit the requirements of being under 13 or something. When they talked about her great artwork, I thought "Here it comes! She actually drew Photog!"

I love how one of the commentors said "This can't be the same guy, the orginal one was from Illinois, and this other guy is from Chicago!"
posted by witchstone at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2003

This kind of story is a perfect example of why I still read Metafilter. More, please.
posted by waxpancake at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2003

If that's the case, I hope Nathan had fun at Disneyland. Actually wait, no I don't - that'd mean he screwed the world out of Photog. That blows. I hope the fine print read that the scholarship could be paid out in Monopoly money. Stupid kid.

Stupid Kid? Stupid fanboy. Even at eleven years old I would have definetly chose $100,000 scholarship and a trip to disneyland for my family over having some action figure I designed be produced. He probably wouldn't have gotten any royalties anyway.
posted by tomorama at 8:56 AM on May 23, 2003

that'd mean he screwed the world out of Photog

'Cause what the world
needs now
is Photog, sweet Photog
it's the only thing
that there's just too little of...

Mass-produced action figures of every 11-year-old's slightest sketch and day-dreamingest doodle for everyone! Yeahhhh!
posted by rory at 9:12 AM on May 23, 2003

Wow. What a story. I've read all the links, but do we know for sure that this is the same kid from the back of the MOTU comic?
posted by untuckedshirts at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2003

Amazing post. Thanks for this, though I'm disappointed Bungie hasn't hired call girls like I thought.
posted by yerfatma at 10:03 AM on May 23, 2003

Google cache of an interview with Nathan Bitner
posted by yerfatma at 10:07 AM on May 23, 2003

...and who wrote the cortana letters?
posted by steef at 11:53 AM on May 23, 2003

Off-topic: In the story link, Tim really doesn't need to link to the Army's website ("Bitner has left Greensboro and joined the Army."). We, uh, know what the Army is. Ditto for "...he was at school in Chapel Hill." It's just not that important to the story.

3 or 4 beers later, a table did and we settled down for some of these wings, and some entrée, which I just can’t recall.

We'll forgive you for not detailing the entrée, too, Tim.

Going back to the move, I could go on to tell you about just how much shit he had, including the bed, mattress, bedspring, dressers, computer desk, and the $2000 picture the size of a pool table that behaves like a giant kite when held onto by the wire cord through my sunroof. But that would make this story a bit to long.

Tim, you just did go on to tell us all that.

That is all.
(Just had to get that out of my system. </compulsive writing asshole> )
posted by Shane at 12:46 PM on May 23, 2003

...I hope Nathan had fun at Disneyland. Actually wait, no I don't - that'd mean [Bitner] screwed the world out of Photog. That blows. I hope the fine print read that the scholarship could be paid out in Monopoly money.

"...screwed the world out of Photog"? Wow. Are all He-Man fans this vindictive and obsessive? It's an action-figure with a camera for a face. Get a grip.

That's the story of Photog. I never said it was going to be long.

Well, unlike Tim, at least He-Man fans are concise.

And he didn't even have sex with them.

Listen up, geek-brethren: Stop going on and on about this "BUT HE COULD'VE ACTUALLY HAD SEX!" crap. You're reinforcing the stereotype that all geeks are virgins.

Nathan Bitner was a lonely, depressed man, and probably still is. I wish him luck.
posted by Shane at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2003

dammnit, the Corrs are not unknowns, you uncultured fops!!!!

posted by kaibutsu at 9:48 PM on May 23, 2003

This is an absolutely brilliant post.
posted by vacapinta at 9:57 PM on May 23, 2003

For anyone who actually read all of this (and you should, it's great stuff):

Back on the subject of Nathan's friend and partner Tim:

Did anyone else notice that, while Tim continually congratulated himself for trying to help Nathan, Tim discouraged Nathan from declaring bankruptcy to get out of the $50,000 of debt that was ruining Nathan's life. Why? Because then Tim would miss out on the lousy $300 that Nathan owed Tim.

Also, when Tim gave it all up and joined the Army, Tim lamented that "if you join the military, those who have debts against you are not able to collect them for some reason."

Take it from me: When someone you know, like Nathan Bitner, is self-destructing, count yourself lucky if all you lost through good intentions was $300. It's a paltry sum compared to the 50-grand Nathan racked up on his way over the cliff.
posted by Shane at 8:00 AM on May 24, 2003

Take it from me: If you're someone self-destructing, like Nathan Bitner, consider yourself lucky if you know someone even half as patient as Tim.

Even to the extent that he acted in self-interest, every minute that Tim didn't cast that insano fucktard albatross off of his neck and into the watery deep, was one more minute of absolute sainthood, if you ask me.

I hope the army whips the crazy out of Bitner's monkey-ass so he can once again join the ranks of the white-collar where he (seemingly) belongs in his better moments. (I mean we're talking about the guy who named "Halo"...can just anybody do that? /sarcasm)
posted by dgaicun at 5:00 PM on May 24, 2003

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