The steps leading down to the quiet storefront added to the intimidation. He remembers it not as a cellar, exactly, but it was a small, dense room underneath the street-level life pulsing away in the evening.
Leo Myers, then just a teen, approached the door looking for answers. He sought to expand the hobby that began one afternoon in a converted chicken house in Eureka, Calif., where his grandmother lived. One afternoon, she pulled out a trunk containing the treasures on which Myers would spend his free time for the rest of his life.
She scooped out photos like a pirate king might watch rubies pass through his fingers. With each snapshot Myers received a story, augmented by a scribbled description on the back. Each chemical-coated paper was another window into who he was and where he came from.