Corey Cerovsek Now (Dec 23) & Then (1987)Sunday, December 24, 2006
"Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear, thy dial how thy precious minutes waste"
Sonnet 77, William Shakespeare
Sometime around 1985 I saw a series of photographs at the Presentation House in North Vancouver. They were photographs of four sisters taken in a beach in Massachusets by photographer Nicholas Nixon. The photos had the four women (one is Nixon's wife) always in the same order. I was drawn to these photographs and I stared at them for a long time.
In 1954 my mother took me to see The Living Desert, a Walt Disney documentary directed by James Algar that won the first Oscar ever for a documentary film (1953). The film was about the flora and fauna of the deserts of the American South West. It featured (it was a state of the art novelty in 1954) time lapse cinematography so that desert blooms opened before your eyes. Time seemed to pass by quickly.
We are far more practical in modern times. Why wash your jeans 50 times before wearing them? You can buy aged, stone washed, faded jeans with "the look" of your favourite pair. Buying antiques can be tough as the antique might just be one of those instant antiques. The effect of time on the human face can be a shock if you haven't seen a long lost friend for a while and if Botox or corrective surgery have not had some play. Without being too aware we ourselves can be a shock to others as we remember ourselves as being young. But there are pleasures to be had in documenting the face over time. I might just be around to photograph Rebecca at the point when she ceases to be a child and becomes a woman. Will I know?
I understand Nicholas Nixon's 35 year-and-counting obsession with the Four Sisters. Besides doing this with my own family I have photographed Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson for 25 years. But he was full grown the first time I photographed him. In the case of violinist Corey Cerovsek I started when he was 14 (above, right). Yesterday's morning session in my studio was our fourth. And we always use a marking pen to draw a violin's f-hole on his palm. We drew generic f-holes. This time Corey brought his "Milanollo" Stradivarius, of 1728, as reference. I dared not touch it as the instrument was played, among others, by Christian Ferras, Giovanni Battista Viotti, and Nicolò Paganini.
Cerovsek mentioned that his petit amie said that our former artsy effort (above) was too much of a Hitler pose. I was careful not to repeat it. This time around I decided to make Cerovsek a bit older by using a green filter and dramatic lighting. After seeing his simultaneous performance as soloist and leader/director in Friday night's concert of baroque music at the Chan I thought that the "older" look would be interesting.
Cerovsek says that our next assignment might be in a couple of years or more. I felt sad that it won't be soon but I did manage to get a more playful photograph where we substituted the f-hole with something more seasonal.
Corey Cerovsek One More Time