Virve Reid - A Baltic SurpriseMonday, November 06, 2006
Vancouver Magazine editor of yore, Malcolm Parry wasn't completely wrong but he almost ruined my reputation as a photographer in Vancouver. He used to say, "I want you to meet Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, the photographer who, curiously, can make beautiful women ugly and ugly women uglier." For a while I believed him so I tried to perfect some technique and prove him wrong. Along the way I had a few very patient subjects who posed for me willingly and helped me along. The best of all of them was and is the voluptuous Baltic surprise, Virve Reid with her flaming red hair and beautiuful white skin. She was the first Canadian redhead to appear (undraped) in the centrefold of a known American magazine. Virve is from that generation of women that was either satisfied with her body or kept her mouth shut and never complained. While she was flawless, I am sure that a present generation would find room for surgical correction.
I did not know what I was shooting. Was I doing glamour (with that almost obscene u that even Americans keep) or was I doing erotic or nude photography? I wasn't sure but Virve posed for me with terrific patience while I sorted it all out. Here are a couple that I took in my garden sometime in 1987 or 88. Thanks to Virve (and her sister Julia) I was eventually able to gain some confidence but Mac changed his tack. Now he introduced me as, "This is Alex, Halfstop, Waterhouse-Hayward." The nickname came from the fact that I tried to avoid, at all costs, overexposing my colour slides. When Mac, Rick (Staehling) or Chris (Dahl) would note that my pictures were too dark I always pointed out to them that I had bracketed by half a stop.