Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...Saturday, January 16, 2010
We photographers, or perhaps I should just speak for myself, are very much like Snow White’s wicked queen/witch. The queen looked at herself in the mirror and wanted the magical mirror to reinforce that she was indeed the most beautiful woman of her kingdom.
This photographer has to be reinforced every once in a while and told I am the best. In the many years that I have been in the business of magazine photographer I have rarely noted a fashion photographer who approved of another colleague’s. Fashion photographers, by their very craft are in Vogue and out of Vogue very quickly. It is difficult for them to remain at the top for long. Since 1975 I have seen fashion photographers come and go. Few ever stayed to linger. One, the best ever was Howard Fry who retired to Salt Spring Island. His end came with the demise of department stores and their lucrative catalogue and newspaper flyer/brochures. Fry’s work was always crisp and original.
There was another whose name I have forgotten who made his female models look like women you would want to date on the spot. I remember a spread he did for Vancouver Magazine where he photographed them in a bathroom. The last Vancouver Magazine editor, Malcolm Parry ever heard of him was that he had absconded with a shipment of lingerie the magazine had sent to him in Italy where he was going to shoot a spread. I had my first suspicions that the photographer was more, or perhaps less, than he seemed when I found him in a room (the Tropicana Motor Inn on Robson) with Johnny Thunders and Thunder’s girlfriend. Was it the booze (a bottle of Courvoisier)? Was it the heroin? Was it both?
I am not a fashion photographer and by that very fact I have had a bit more longevity. But I still look at myself in the mirror, figuratively and literally. There are some days when I think I am all washed up and then there are days when someone might tell me I am very good. Unable to accept that kind of praise my usual comment is, “After all this time, if I weren’t any good I would be terribly stupid to continue. I would have switched to plumbing a long time ago and prospered, too!”
The picture here, Claire Love at the Marble Arch, is one that I can objectively say speaks of a talent that I was born with. The talent in question is to know, sometimes at least, when to press the shutter and to make sure some sort of viewable image is left that can be used, printed or in the case here scanned and posted on this blog.
When I look at this picture I feel that I can face that talking mirror and its lips will say, “You are good; at least for today.”