A Polaroid On My Fridge
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I recall a sunny day in Santa Fe, N.M., when my little daughter [Jennifer, 3] asked why she could not see at once the picture I had just taken of her. As I walked around the charming town I undertook the task of solving the puzzle she had set me. Within an hour, the camera, the film and the physical chemistry became so clear to me.
Edwin Herbert Land
When I look at pictures of Edwin Land he is to me the personification of the brilliant inventor who had a soft spot for the desires of a child. This picture was taken by art photographer Naomi Savage who was a model for Man Ray and also happened to be his niece. She had previously studied not only under her uncle but with Berenice Abbott.
That excitement that I first felt when I bought my Poloroid Land SX-70 in the middle 70s and the further delight of buying a Polaroid back for my Mamiya RB-67 in the 80s is a thrill that has not been matched by the purchase of any other photographic equipment since. And more so now. I have been lent a Canon EOS 20D digital single lens reflex camera of a month. I stare at it and feel frustrated that I cannot seem to be able to set the shutter speed and f-stops to my liking without reading the thick manual I will have to download from the web. All the other camera features are mostly useless to me. The camera is innert like a rare gas. It does not affect me emotionally. I feel distanced to it.
But I do understand now that the little LCD screen on the back of the camera that shows the "just taken" image may one day have to replace the Polaroid I have used all these years. My Polaroids have helped me make my subjects relax while assuring me that my camera and studio lights are all working in unison and correctly. The box you see here is the last from my supply. The film is now discontinued and I will replace it with the Fuji version.
I always smiled when I read in my National Geographic how some explorer/writer in the middle of head-hunting tribe in darkest Borneo would save himself from the pot by handing over a Polaroid. Would it be the same to show the back of your camera? Can you keep that image? Of course Polaroid is marketing a digital camera that does just that. It will print a little picture from a built-in printer.
Until the advent of the digital camera one of the biggest users of Polaroid cameras and film where the continuity people in movies. They would photograph the set and the costumes of the actors at the end of the day so they would not make mistakes on the next. Those Polaroids were then stuck in the actors' trailers or in the makeup booths. For years I have been giving away my Polaroids telling my subjects to put them up on their fridge.
It seemed appropriate that my subjects after posing for me would somehow take something of me with them home. Not all their soul was left as a latent image on my film. It felt good. Alas, Polaroid is no more! Will I now call them Fujiroids or stick to Edwin Land's memory and vision and call them Polaroids?
These are SX-70 Polaroids that I took between 1975 and 1977. The first is Hilary at the door of an old school on Cambie that was demolished soon after. That's Rosemary at the Space Needle in Seattle in 1975 and Ale and Hilary pose in their Mexican tops outside our house in Burnaby in the late 70s. That's me taken with a Polaroid back on my Mamiya. I don't recall the date nor who pressed the shutter.
Jay Leno & Gilligan's Island
Friday, March 20, 2009
Rosemary not working any more in combination with a Toshiba laptop that she uses in bed has made her a different person (much more fun) from the one that I have known for the last 41 years.
Around 11:15 last night she told me from upstairs, “I want to watch Obama on that show. Is it called the Tonight Show
? When does it start?” Neither Rosemary nor I have ever seen Jay Leno (the closest I ever go to Leno was in this picture I took of him in 1987 backstage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre). And I do believe neither of us ever saw the Johnny Carson Show
. Since we arrived in Canada in 1975 I never ever saw The Beachcombers
. But I will proudly admit watching Gilligan’s Island
with my two daughters. And prior to 1975 I was addicted to La Odisea del Espacio
(Star Treck) in Mexico City.
Because of our TV illiteracy we never keep the TV magazine that comes with our Vancouver Sun. I told Rosemary to look up the Tonight Show on Google. We found the schedule. Our next problem was to figure out which Seattle TV channel on our box was NBC. With some back and forth flicking of the remote we did prevail and Rosemary got her wish.
If you have never seen a late night TV show, most of the concept is alien. It was for us. I particularly noticed Leno’s tacky desk and plants. The only class in the joint was the President himself.
But now both Rosemary and I can claim true passage into the 21st century. But perhaps not quite, “Alex what do they mean by network television?” she asked me. I did not consider her question all that relevant to our times so I gave her a perfunctory answer.
A Death In Venice
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Venice has been painted and described many thousands of times, and of all the cities of the world it is the easiest to visit without going there.
Italian Hours, Henry James
‘I'm starving,’ she said. ‘I’ll put the pasta water on.’
Zen followed her out to the kitchen. On the table a stoppered litre bottle of red wine, a packet of spaghetti, a fat clove of purple-skinned garlic, a small jar of oil which was the opaque green of bottle glass abraded by the sea, and a twist of paper containing three wrinkled chillis the colour of dried blood.
‘Aglio, olio e peperoncino,’ he said.
‘I told you it was nothing fancy.’
Dead Lagoon, Michael Dibdin
Rosemary and I sat in the den for lunch yesterday. I had made a gruyere, ham and fresh tomato omelette. Rosemary turned on the TV. My large plate felt hot on my lap. We will not admit to the realization that we sometimes watch TV while eating and we will not acknowledge this culinary aberration by resorting to a TV dinner tray. On CNN I saw that picture of Natasha Richardson and her husband Liam Neeson. It seems it’s the only image the media could rustle up in our age of the all-knowing and all seeing image bank, Getty or Corbis. I got up.
I went to a corner in the den where I had piled some books in a recent rearranging of my library. It was a pile of softcover books. From the pile I retrieved Ian McEwan’s second novel (1982) The Comfort of Strangers
and I showed it to Rosemary. “Here is the Natasha Richardson they are talking about.” I had also seen this great little movie. The novel does not ever state nor confirm the reader’s suspicion that the novel is set in Venice.
For Mary the hard mattress, the unaccustomed heat, the barely explored city were combining to set loose in her a turmoil of noisy, argumentative dreams which, she complained, numbed her waking hours; and the fine old churches, the altar-pieces, the stone bridges over the canals, fell dully on her retina, as on a distant screen.
The film directed by Paul Schrader is firmly set in Venice. The only other film on Venice with the same pull on my memory, as good, scary and strange as Schrader's was Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now
. The film was based on a Daphne du Maurier
story, and cast Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. The Comfort Of Strangers
boasted an unusually excellent cast, Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everrett, Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren. Harold Pinter’s screenplay is the creamy icing on the cake.
In McEwan's 1990 novel The Innocent
a man cuts up a body and quietly and calmly fits it into a suitcase. The almost unemotional McEwan style forces me to read his books in one sitting but not often. They are so cold and uninviting. The Comfort of Strangers
is such a film. It is a film you can only see once even if you never forget it. In spite of the colourful Venice it is cold and gothic. But not as scary as the novella of the same name:
While they were out, and not only in the mornings, a maid came and tidied the beds, or removed the sheets, if she thought that was necessary. Unused to hotel life, they were inhibited by this intimacy with a stranger they rarely saw. The maid took away used paper tissues, she lined up their shoes in the cupboard in a tidy row, she folded their dirty clothes into a neat pile on a chair and arranged loose change into little stacks along the bedside table.
Rapidly, however, they came to depend on her and grew lazy with their possessions. They became incapable of looking after one another, incapable in this heat, of plumping their own pillows, or of bending down to retrieve a dropped towel. At the same time they had become less tolerant of disorder. One late morning they returned to their room to find it as they had left it, simply uninhabitable, and they had no choice but to go out again and wait until it had been dealt with.
Near the end of the novella McEwan writes:
‘Very well,’ Robert said and reached Colin’s arm, and turned his palms upward. ‘See how easy,’ he said, perhaps to himself, as he drew the razor lightly, almost, playfully, across Colin’s wrist, opening wide the artery. His armed jerked forward, and the rope he cast, orange in this light, fell short of Mary’s lap by several inches.
After I saw the film, Natasha Richardson was indelibly engraved in my brain as Mary in The Comfort of Stranger’s
Colin and Mary and with two other films featuring pairs, Peter Yates’ 1969, John and Mary
(Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow) and Frank Perry’s 1962 David and Lisa
with Keir Dullea and Janet Margolin.
On further thought of the death of Natasha Richardson I scoured my library and found quite a few books on Venice. There are many more than I show here as I have all of Donna Leon’s Commisario Brunetti, all eight of them.
It was not too long ago that I decided to read a pocket book I used to prop up a bookcase. The cover was so terrible I decided the book was not worth reading. I can report that if I were to read it again perhaps my melancholy over the death of Mary (Natasha Richardson) might be dispelled just a bit.
But that will not happen. I will probably re read the best Venice novel in my library, Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen police procedural, Dead Lagoon
. Set in a freezing Venetian winter it is gloomy and depressing. I can feel the decay of Aurelio Zen's city of birth in shivers during every reading. I have begun to understand that Henry James was correct. On the other hand I will have to correct my oversight in not having yet read Thomas Mann's Death in Venice
And no Natasha Richardson did not die in Venice. It was in Manhattan but my memory of her will always live and die in Venice.
The Death Of William Shakespeare
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Long may thy worthiness thy name advance
Amongst the virtuous and deserving most,
Who herein hast forever happy proved:
In life thou lived'st, in death thou died'st beloved.
A Funeral Elegy for Master William Peter, William Shakespeare
If you don't garden you probably don't understand the concept of a perennial. These plants come back year after year. Some don't need proper care, others do. But with just a bit of garden knowledge perennials can return year after year. Hostas in particular are long-lived perennials and can please you for half a century. What is important to hardy perennials is that they get a winter rest. There are several types of hardy perennials. Some can thrive in Vancouver but die in Edmonton and Winnipeg. Perennials are given hardiness ratings
so that those growing them in different areas of Canada will not suffer too many dissapointments. Perennials like humans need a period of rest to recoup energy. Hostas will not grow in Florida because they need a winter dormancy period. Smart Floridians still manage to grow hostas by popping their plants into the fridge for a couple of months. The cold signals the plants to go to dormancy.
Roses are shrubs or small trees and they follow, in most cases the, practice of dormancy. Roses in Vancouver will welcome cold Christmas and January weather as they sleep in preparation for a spring jump into botanical awareness. But if the weather should warm up in February the rose bushes will shift out of dormancy. This is what they did this year and then with our subsequent cold weather and snow roses were caught when they least expected it. I must report lots of dead or dying roses in my garden. The telltale sign is a cane top with lots of pink buds but as you look down the canes you notice the browning. As the canes die the buds whither. If there are no other healthy canes then the rose has gone to its maker. There are some possible (slime) Lazarus situations where come spring the "dead" rose will send up some new canes. I can only hope this will happen. I will help induce the moribund bushes by watering (as soon as it gets a bit warmer) the roses with a mixture of water and alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meals seem to jolt roses into action. My hard to grow but ever so beautiful Rosa 'Baron Girod De'Lain'
had one remaining cane over the fall. It is dead. There are perhaps five or six more roses but the one whose death breaks my heart is Rosa
'William Shakespeare'. It wasn't an easy rose and it never really did all that well. But for years Rebecca has been growing up to enjoying in the garden with its deep crimson blooms that are extremely scented. The blooms themselves fade into glorious purples. It will be difficult to replace it as the rose was de-listed by David Austin and he launched an "improved" Rosa 'William Shakespeare 2000'. I will have to ask Rebecca if we should buy it or just glory in the memory of William Shakespeare, a plain William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare William Shakespeare again
Sister Icee & German Fruit Juice Bears
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever, vainly, to comprehend.
The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxeley
La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
Ya no quieres caminar,
Porque no tienes,
Porque le falta,
Marihuana que fumar.
I have spent most of my life avoiding or turning down people who want to get me high, drunk or both. We all know that there is nothing worse than to tell a nervous person, "Why don't you learn to relax?
" People have come up to me at parties and whispered in my ear, "Alex, just let go and you will see how much fun it is."
In the mid 80s Gary Taylor used to host battle of the bands contests at his Rock Room on Hornby. He invited me often to be one of the judges for a very good reason. I was a cheap judge. He kept me happy all night with free Perrier. The other judges indulged on hard liquor and white powders.
On my father's side of the family there has been an unusual incidence of alcoholism so I must have some built-in aversion to any addiction (except one I might as well confess right now, the German brand of fruit juice bears sold at London Drugs).
In my grade 11 at St. Ed's High School in Austin, my roommate, Maurice Badeaux went to town on a Saturday evening. I think we might have had a midnight curfew. While he was gone I decided to find out what it was like to get drunk and I emptied his bottle of bourbon. We were not supposed to have liquor in our rooms. When Badeaux returned I was oblivious to everything. He began to kick me, "How could you finish my personal bottle of Bourbon?
" I felt no pain.
Sometime around 1982 another Maurice, Maurice Depas, lead singer of a Vancouver pop band, Maurice and the Clichés and I were on Wreck Beach soaking the sun in our birthday suits. "Alex I have this great hashish. You seem to be immune to all of the stuff. Give it a try.
" He put some in my beautiful Peterson Irish pipe (he ruined it forever) and lit it. After a few minutes he asked me to pass him the sun tan lotion. I realized I could not move. I was frozen solid. That was the first and last time I tried the stuff.
Some years before, my Yorkshire friend Andrew Taylor had purchased some peyote in a Mexico City herb market. We both had read Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception
and Heaven And Hell
. He came over to my house and persuaded me to try the stuff while he watched me with a stop watch. Nothing ever happened. Either I was immune to peyote or they had fooled him at the market.
On another occasion at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room a large woman came up to me. I had never seen her before in my life. She said, “Alex open the palm of your right hand
." She then dumped a pile of white powder on it and watched me. I did what I was supposed to do. She returned a few minutes later and asked, “And, how was it?”
My answer must have confused her even though I thought it was most accurate, “I felt like I was walking up the stairs from the hot and stuffy Buenos Aires subway in the middle of the summer and suddenly I was hit by a rush of fresh air.”
While teaching high school in Mexico City around 1974 my students asked me what my opinion on taking drug was. I told them a couple of stories. In 1967 I had gone to visit my friend Robert Hijar in San Francisco. He lived in the then most fashionably high neighbourhood of Haight-Ashbury. I stayed for a couple of months. My hair was extremely long and I wore an army surplus jacket (peace sign button on the lapel) with a sewn-up bullet hole that must have rendered its previous owner impotent. For laughs I once went to the park to try a Digger's stew. At the time I was feeling very Argentine so I drank a lot of mate from my gourd. The hippies who lived below one day asked me what it was. Most of the time they were high on some substance but this time they looked fine. “This is an Argentine tea called mate. Want to try some?”
They answered, “Not a chance it seems to be habit forming since you always have that thing in your hand.”
The second story involved my attendance of a concert of the Jefferson Airplane. In a darkish corner during the concert I spotted a beautiful girl with a Joan Baez long, dark and straight hair. She was huddled in a corner staring at a little glass of what must have been crème de menthe
. She seemed to be fascinated by the colour.
I further explained that when Rosemary and visited my mother in Veracruz we would drive through the semi-tropical city of Xalapa (home of jalapeño peppers). The landscape was a strange pristine green that was the greenest green I had ever seen. “It was an absolute green. It was a green that would define and prove Plato’s idea that everything we ever see with our senses is imperfect, a mere shadow of the world of essences. Xalapa was glimpse into this world. The girl at the concert was staring at what she perceived to be absolute green.”
But I knew that I had to give my class an answer or I was in trouble. I told them that there were two ways to enjoy a tomato. One was to buy a greenish pale tomato in the super market and take it home. Then with a salt shaker, and a touch of MSG the tomato would be surprisingly delicious. The other way was to go to the garden, pick a ripe tomato and give it a big bite. “Both tomatoes are delicious. My preference is for the garden variety.”
In Mexico marijuana, in Spanish it has two allowed spellings, mariguana
, there is still a more obvious differences between social classes than in Canada. One who smokes marijuana is called a marihuano
. It can be used as an insult and its meaning is but a notch up in class from a zombie of the cannibal-in-the-mall variety.
The woman in the portrait is Shelley Francis a.k.a. Sister Icee who in 1998 owned and ran the Cannabis Café on West Hastings. I photographed her for an article, August 20, by Anthony De Palma for the New York Times.
The Rose - Science Versus Art
Monday, March 16, 2009
'She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,' cried the young Student; 'but in all my garden there is no red rose.'
From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.
'No red rose in all my garden!' he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. 'Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched.'
'What a silly thing Love is,' said the Student as he walked away. 'It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics.'
So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.
The Nightingale and the Rose
The poor student in Oscar Wilde's story does manage to find a white rose with the help of the nightingale but to no avail as love does not triumph as the story finishes. The Nightingale and the Rose
pits love versus philosphy and logic. In the end it would seem that philosophy and logic win.
In 1953 Texan born Charles L. Harness, a lawyer and patent attorney, wrote a famous science fiction novella, The Rose
. It appeared first in Authentic Magazine
in England but did not appear in book form until 1969 in the pocket book form I purchased in 1970. Both The Rose
and Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human (1953)
were books of my youth that influenced me because part of being young is to be aware that one is walking potential and the future appears to be a blank and open book. Both novels explored the next step in man's potential, an evolution where the body stopped changing and it all shifted to the expansion of our mind. More Than Human
was an easier read. The Rose
was more complicated because Harness shifted Wilde's conflict between love and logic and philosophy to one between the arts and science. But I understood enough to grasp with much excitement that some day soon we would have big huge heads containing brains like those aliens in This Island Earth
. In youth I had some potential but I was naive, too!
One of the supporting characters in The Rose says: "‘I repeat,’ said Bell,
‘we are watching the germination of another Renaissance. The signs are unmistakable, and should be of great interest to practising sociologists and policemen.
’" Charles L. Harness stresses the power of the opposition: not the scientists themselves, but the National Security/Governmental apparatus that hires them. He does not see science as a problem. The problem lies in that science is set up against the liberalism and individualism of art. Even though we must all be aware that you need some sort of education to appreciate art.
The message was lost to me in 1970. The Rose
amazed me but I was left with little understanding as to why I had liked it. The nightingale is an ugly psychiatrist and ballerina and the student (no less ugly) represents art while being married to a scientist who is a beauty of perfection. The student and the ballerina manage to end (sort of) like a couple of ducklings turned swans.
Harness died in 2005 and I can only wonder what he would make of the new enemy of the arts as the world's economy declines and funding for the arts withers away. It was only some weeks ago that a member of my family said, "A liberal arts education is a waste of time now."
Perhaps I shall place my copy of The Rose on a bedside table and see if that mind will change. After all youth is there and potential is at its fullest.
The red rose on the cover of my pocketbook is a Hybrid Tea. I do not have any red Hybrid Tea Roses in my garden. What you see here is the English Rose, Rosa 'L.D. Braithwaite'
Sina & Hanna Together
Sunday, March 15, 2009
My liberal Catholic education allowed for Darwin's beliefs on where we came from. At the same time a reading of Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man
gave me some glimpses on where we might be headed to.
At St. Ed's in Austin, Brother Edwin explained to us how a couple of apes at some point might have had that glimmer of thought which the Catholic Church would explain as a direct intervention of God. "I don't think those thinking apes would have been as pretty as the Adam and Eve portrayed in art." he explained to us. Brother Edwin’s explanation was no different from the one I had read in the books of Erich Fromm. I saw no conflict between the Church and Darwin. But Brother Edwin discussed another problem with us. He first went through the standard Aristotelian/Church progression from a rock to primitive cells and organisms, insects, birds, mammals, humans, angels and God. He explained that humans were a blend of body and spirit. That spirit was our soul. Angels were pure but imperfect spirits and God, then, was the pure and perfect spirit. Where we had a confusion and Brother Edwin left us (how intelligent he was) with it, was what kind of spirit a dog or ape would have. Could we call these spirits souls? We discussed what obvious traits made us different from animals. Brother Edwin told us that unlike animals (and I cannot now be sure of it) that we as Homo sapiens sapiens
knew that we knew. We were aware of our being.
Since then, humans have been defined as toolmakers and users of tools yet several animals including birds have been seen using primitive mechanical devices to open shells, etc. The difference between animals and humans has blurred even further. Soon the Vancouver Aquarium's sea otter and octopus will be considered so intelligent (they are) that nature lovers will force the aquarium to release them. The sea otters and the octopus will be the "new whale".
For the time being I live in the comfort that one difference between us and the "lower" orders is our ability to associate disparate things, events, memories and find links within them. It is far and beyond making a noise with a spoon and a tin of cat food to get the cats to come in. Our human ability to associate is far more elaborate. Or as my friend Les Wiseman reminded me only this week, "What can we do, where can we be transported to by dipping a madeleine
Yesterday I Skyped Juan Manuel Sánchez in Buenos Aires. He told me that he was having radioactive tests (radioactive substances were being injected) to look for solutions to his health problems. Sánchez is 78. I made the comment that he probably glowed in the dark. I told him that I was going to nick-name him Polonio, Polonio Sánchez. The association is Borgesian and he caught on. Jorge Luís Borges had a great interest in a shadowy Argentine literary figure called Macedonio Fernández. Thus the association of Polonio Sánchez and Macedonio Fernández. Does this ability make us human?
Yesterday Rosemary and I watched a fine film My Summer of Love
that features two young women of different backgrounds in Yorkshire who find each other. The two young girls become close and have a torrid affair (I don't think I will be seeing this film with Rebecca yet). I noted that wonderful closeness that they had which we men could not possibly achieve with our macho ideas of what is proper and what is not. I have had friends and have friends but there is always a sense of distance. I felt closeness to Juan Manuel Sanchez when he was in Vancouver. After a visit I would kiss him goodbye. We Argentine Latins can be a bit more expressive of our feelings in spite of our machismo.
The film made me re-live last Sunday in a different and far more glowing light. It all started last Saturday when the phone rang.
Rosemary passed me the phone and with a doubtful expression on her face told me, "They want pictures." The young woman on the phone had a thick German accent. "We want pictures," she asked. This kind of thing is not infrequent so I like to make sure the request is a serious one and that money will change hands (in my direction). The girl on the phone told me her name was Sina (that S was pronounced like a z) and that she and her friend Hanna had gone to Sears to enquire about having their pictures taken. They were told that Sears no longer had that service but the woman (a mystery to me as who she was) told them that there was someone who would. My name was mentioned. The two girls looked me up on the web and found me. They called. Sina told me that they lived in Agassiz but that they were in town for the weekend. "You mean you want me to take your pictures today or tomorrow?” Sina, said, "Yes." I mentioned to them that I was not cheap. I mentioned a sum and we agreed to meet at my studio the next morning at 11. I thought it all very strange.
Rosemary, who is often right, felt that this was either a joke or that the women were "Gypsies" who would rob me. To make matters worse that evening the clocks were going to change. Would the girls realize this? Would they show up on time?
I arrived at the outside gate of my studio on Robson. It was 10:45. There were two women outside with bags. One of them had very blond straight hair down to her waist. She was well over 6 ft. I went up to them and told them, "You look German."
Up in the studio Sina (the tall one) told me that she was a milk maid in an Agassiz dairy farm. She was here on an exchange program. Her friend Hanna was visiting from home, a small town in Schleswig-Holstein. Hanna was a chef's assistant. Both young girls were 20. "We want sexy pictures for our boyfriends."
I insisted in taking their pictures together first to celebrate their friendship. These pictures were easy to take. There was warmth between them that I was able to recognize yesterday while watching My Summer of Love
. But I had to tell them exactly how to pose together. They soon warmed up to my instructions. We then took the sexy pictures for their boyfriends. I mentioned that the picture session must have arisen from some impulse that hit them while shopping in Sears. But both Hanna and Sina spoke a very limited English and they constantly chattered on in German. I had no idea what they were saying. I suspect they must have had fun.
With a few frames left in my camera Hanna suggested I photograph them together. Hanna looked at me while telling me this and then changed her mind. I insisted. It seems there was a level of discomfort. Perhaps she was thinking, "What will our boyfriends think of us?" I took two pictures of them together and they looked exactly like the two girls in the film we saw yesterday, even if I wasn't to know that until then.
But I did know last Sunday that I had captured something special - a bond between women, a bond that as a man, I can only but suspect of its wonders. Perhaps, those dogs, those birds and I have that flaw in common, and women are that much more human.