Sex Crimes, Homicide and DrugsTuesday, April 11, 2006
|Gil Pruder, left & Constable Steven Pranzl|
Manrique was a plainclothes cop. My father, who was a journalist for the Buenos Aires Herald, used to bring him to the house. I was so curious in trying to spy the gun he wore under his coat that I never found out if Manrique was his first or last name nor why he visited my father. In one visit Manrique gave me a cheap Thor copy of Edmundo de Amicis's Corazón which I have read many times and still have. I can say I have had a special interest in cops since. In Mexico I was afraid of cops and I bribed many while there. It has been a relief in my 30 years in Vancouver to have never felt that dread I had in Mexico when I was stopped by a cop.
One cop, in particular I came to like, lots. I photographed Constable Steven Pranzl (above, right) for the cover of Vancouver Magazine in June 1986. We all laughed at how our makeup artist overdid it and many in the Vancouver Police Department thought Pranzl looked like a queen. At the time he was in sex crimes. Through the years I have kept in touch with this stylish and urbane man. The last time I had some Earl Gray tea with him, he was wearing a camel hair coat from Holt Renfrew, an immaculate black turtle neck, beautiful slacks with a sharp crease and burgundy tassel shoes. "I am in homicide now," and producing a pepper spray can, "and this is my gun."
I met Gil Puder (above, left) in June 1999. We had coffee at the Ovaltine Cafe on West Hastings. I had been hired by Douglas & McIntyre to photograph him for his forthcoming personal expose on the drug situation in Vancouver as seen by a cop on the beat. The book was to be called Crossfire. We decided not to photograph him in a back alley but in my studio. For personal reasons (or reasons he was not willing to reveal to me) he could not pose in a Vancouver Police uniform. He confessed to me that he had an unusual mid life crisis problem. Or at least it was his wife's as she had left him and puchased a Miata at the same time. After taking the photographs, a couple of months later I had to photograph an actor in a back alley who was making a movie. I asked one of the motorcycle cops there if he knew Puder. His exact answer (to the effect that the sooner Puder was dead the better) I cannot print here. A few months later I read of his death in the Vancouver Sun. Perhaps I am a bit paranoid in having noticed that a writer at the publisher told me Puder had died of an ailment that was not the one mentioned in the Sun. Shortly after, I was paid for the photos and the book project was cancelled. The unofficial explanation that I was given was that with the author dead nobody was keen on taking the chance of dealing with a lawsuit by what may have been the explosive content of his book.
Addendum 1. - October 7, 2007
name: Christine Puder
comments: Hi Alex,
I was looking for a photographer and came across your information as
I searched. I am the widow of Gil Puder. I was somewhat dismayed
at the information posted about Gil on your site. Some of the
information is not true and is damaging for myself and my sons. I
would be glad to help it appear accurately if you choose to have it up
for everyone to see. It is personally upsetting as I did not leave Gil, nor buy a sportscar. His death was from melanoma and my sons and I spent all our time with Gil during his final days at the hospital.
Thank you for your consideration,
I could have not heard correctly what Mr. Puder told me in my studio during the photo session. Or perhaps if I heard correctly, his disease prevented him from expressing himself correctly. I am deeply sorry that I may have offended unknowingly (when I wrote the above) her and her children. But I would never consider either tearing out or correcting a page from my diary. On the other hand Christine Puder was gracious enough not to point out that I had incorreclty spelled her husband's first and last name in my above blog. I have corrected that.