By Michael Godfrey
The last thing you’d expect to see at Denison Library, located at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, is airplanes, but from the minute you walk in, the sight of dozens of aircraft, both military and civilian, fill your vision.
The airplanes are part of a photo exhibit, “Planes and Pilots,” by one of the most interesting doctors on the Anschutz Medical Campus, Geza Bodor.
“I’ve been a photographer since I was 10,” said Bodor. “It’s not only a hobby but also a passion of mine.”
Photography was a hobby for Bodor, but it went beyond that. He learned valuable techniques and skills from professional photographers in Hungary before deciding to become a doctor.
“I was really into photography, but when the time came, I chose to become a doctor,” said Bodor. “I knew everything about photography. I knew how to develop, edit and print in my own darkroom.”
In 1983, Bodor decided to leave Hungary and escape communism.
“It was a hard journey for me,” he said. “Hungary was my home, but now America is my home country.”
Bodor moved to St. Louis, where he had a medical residency and fellowship at Washington University. He continued to thrive in medicine all over the country. It wasn’t until he lived in Tennessee that he discovered his love of flight.
“I decided I wanted to be a pilot,” he said. “I got my private and my instrument while I was there and then I bought my first plane.”
He became a partner in the ownership of a Piper Lance and began to fly almost every weekend.
“I loved that plane, but then I had to move,” he said.
Bodor then moved to Denver to become the director of the Core Laboratory at the Denver Health Medical Center and professor of pathology at the University of Colorado’s health campus.
“After a while, I had to get back into flying,” he said. “So I went down to Centennial Airport and joined a flight club.”
He began flying at Centennial and eventually fell in love with a Beechcraft Bonanza. He bought one and has owned it since.
In 2004, Bodor flew across the Atlantic to Europe, one of his longest and more memorable flights. He flew to Greenland, across Iceland and over to continental Europe in a voyage that took more than 10 days of flying in one direction.
“My wife thought it was very dangerous,” he said. “She and my son met me over there and things just lined up. We visited my parents and the rest of my family.”
He spent four months flying across Europe in his Bonanza. He discovered the cost of flying when he came in for an oil change and found that a single quart of oil was more than $15 a bottle.
“It was a blast,” he said. “I put 99 hours on the plane during the trip. I only had to get an oil change, but I’d definitely bring my own oil next time.”
Bodor never did forget his love of photography. When the digital age of photography became affordable, he returned to the hobby. Everywhere he flies, he takes his camera in search of photo opportunities. He visits air shows in search of unusual airplanes.
“Every time I fly, I carry my camera,” he said. “You just never know what airplane you’ll see at the airport you just happen to go to.”
His exhibit at the library contains photos of airplanes from the Red Bull Air Race in Monument Valley this past May, a DC-3, both the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, and even a photo of his own Bonanza taken at Kulusuk Airport, Greenland, during a flight to Europe over the North Atlantic.
Bodor has sold many of his photos of airplanes from all over the world and has exhibited his work several times, but it’s still just a hobby.
“I love to take a photo, ‘develop it’ on my computer and print them, but I don’t think it will ever take me away from medicine,” he said
“Planes and Pilots” will be on display until early September.
For more information, visit [http://hsclibrary.uchsc.edu/artwork].