Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The female bear neared not because it wanted to attack, but because it was attracted to the food.
Brother Wolf reacted the way he did when they encountered a polar bear in the Arctic. He took a piece of watermelon and threw it to the female bear. Then, he picked up another apple and threw it some distance away.
After all, bears were wild animals and they were difficult to tame. Although the female bear had yet to display aggression, Li Du and the rest decided to keep a distance from it.
If the female bear suddenly went berserk, none of them would be able to escape.
The off-road speed of the brown bear was close to 60 kilometers per hour. It would be able to run one kilometer in a minute, and one hundred meters in six seconds. Furthermore, that was not even its sprinting speed. Brown bears were able to sustain that speed while running. Under these conditions, humans were no match for them.
Enticed by the food Brother Wolf threw, the female bear started to move away from the group. The bear cub went to snatch the fruit and got a slap from its mother. They slowly entered the forest, disappearing between the trees.
The environmental and wildlife protection works at the lake area was progressing pretty well. At night, while camping, Li Du and his companions bumped into foxes who were out hunting, as well as some wild birds.
Amongst the creatures, the fox was the most unfortunate. It had emerged to look for food but ended up bumping into Ah Meow, almost turning into prey itself.
Besides, there was also an abundance of wild rabbits, hedgehogs, and other small animals.
The next day, Li Du rented a huge yacht and the group boarded it to sail on the lake.
Brother Wolf and the rest took turns cable-skiing. Li Du did not know how to do that and had no interest in such entertainment. He just sat by, watching the others having fun.
Three days into the vacation, Li Du started to feel bored. He brought along Lu Guan and said, “Let’s go to the photography workshop for a look. It would be best if we can make some money. I’d split it with the buddies.”
While he enjoyed resting on vacation, Lu Guan was still more interested in making money. After hearing Li Du’s words, he perked up and got into the car.
Driver had no family and was even less interested in vacation activities. He drove and accompanied the two of them to Cleveland.
Ohio Life Insurance was one of the anchor associations in Cleveland. The location of the building was unmistakable. It was not far from the town center and the warehouse they had rented was nearby as well.
Lately, Lu Guan had been researching information regarding the photography studio. On their way there, he told Li Du what he knew.
The photography industry had been prospering without signs of dwindling. However, the old-fashioned studios, like Bourne and Safford’s Eyes, went into bankruptcy one after another. There were many reasons for that. This time, it was because there were issues with the company’s management. They did not manage to ride the digital wave in time and stuck to film photography.
Film photography had become a thing of the past. Even Kodak had gone bust, not to speak of small studios.
In order to go back to its days of glory, the studio had tried to expand its service offerings. They had provided business shoots, 16 mm and 35 mm film development services, among other things. However, when the photography industry entered the digital age, the studio did not manage to keep up with the trend and hence, could not continue to operate.
In 1991, a huge fire destroyed about two thousand glass slides in the studio. Their management was hit hard by this crisis.
That could be an opportunity to change direction. In the 90s, digital photoshoots had been born. However, the studio did not grasp onto the opportunity. They pumped a large amount of money into recovering the glass slides. Finally, when they realized the need to follow the trend and get into digital photography, they had run out of money to do so.
“Besides, this studio had been very unwise in its financial management. Initially, they were going for the half-enterprise route. Most of the low-margin items were non-profit. Take for example their historical record of the Northern Indiana people.”
Li Du asked, “What do you mean by historical record? Did they take many photos related to the Indiana people?”
Lu Guan nodded. “That’s right. Plenty of those. In the earlier half of the 20th century, the place was practically the official photography studio for Indiana. They managed to record many photographs related to the native Indiana people.”
Before the American parliament had changed its policy, the lives of the Indiana natives were tough. In the 19th century, they had been marginalized, robbed of their land, and massacred. When the 20th century arrived, although they were no longer slaughtered, most of them did not hold jobs and did not have much money.
The services that the studio provided to the natives were, of course, unable to make money. Based on Lu Guan’s theory, at that time, the studio was not after money. They were doing it for art and for history. The studio was ambitious in that sense and had wanted to make its mark on history through recording native heritage.
The studio was named Bourne and Safford’s Eye. The name originated from the two creators, Mr. Bourne and Mr. Safford. The two of them had partnered with the Indiana people right at the start when the studio had first been established.
At that time, Safford was mainly in charge of running the studio and developing the photos. On the other hand, Bourne had actively photographed the native Northern Indiana people he had met in his travels.
From the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States to the Rocky Mountains in the west, the native tribes left a deep impression on Bourne and his team.
It was said that Bourne had taken hundreds of thousands of photographs depicting the native lifestyle, culture, and art.
Those photographs had documented the Indiana people who developed further as they went along. It had also recorded many of the relationships between the ancient tribes. At that time, the Indiana people and other natives were highly praised in society. Many media outlets would flash their photos when introducing the native culture.
Besides, the studio had continued to keep an eye on native culture and society. With their superb skills, they created native influences that were of first-class artistic value. These materials went into many top museums such as the National Portrait Gallery. When they became recognized, they turned into collectibles.
Both the Ohio government and Washington honored the studio and granted the owners many social service awards.
All these awards were highly gratifying to the people in charge of the studio. They were true artists and did not care much about money. They were after making history.
However, people often forget the past. Once the most pressing problems of the Indiana natives had been resolved, fewer people took notice.
It was unfortunate that the management of the studio had run into problems. Now, they needed money, which they did not have. Hence, they could only declare bankruptcy, leaving behind an even lower possibility for them to be able to make history.
Lu Guan gave Li Du a survey of all the information regarding the studio. Where he could, he elaborated with clear details. That would be very useful for the auction. It would allow Li Du to understand the situation at the studio and when he did go into it, he would be able to pay extra attention to things that were more valuable.
Right now, he was targeting the Indiana native people art. The studio was so closely related to the Indiana tribes that there must have been many gifts from the natives in the past.
Over time, some valuable items would likely have been deposited into the warehouse. All Li Du needed to do was find them.
The auction was going to be split into two sessions. One would encompass the warehouses and the other would deal with the offices. The studio had requested for a bankruptcy auction and their office had been sealed. All the items in the office would have to stay where they were until the treasure hunters came to bid for them.