A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Tis Pity She's A .....
Tuesday, February 02, 2010



Dirk Bogarde 'The Look'

I remember being surprised, and showing it rather obviously, when Luchino Visconti, reading through the cast of a film which I had just agreed to make with him, said’…and finally I will use the English girl Charlotte Rampling for the young wife who is sent to the concentration camp…’

‘Rampling! But why?’ I remember saying tactlessly. Visconti placed the forefinger and thumb of each hand around his eyes, framing them. ‘For this,’he said. ‘For the Look.’

…Rampling keeps her own sensuality well banked down, but one is constantly aware of the fire below in the lithe walk, the measured tread, the slender length of leg, the curve of the neck and throat and perhaps, most of all, in the meaning and the suggestions which lie behind the Look. Those alone can still a breath. It seems all that is necessary.

Dirk Bogarde, Paris 23.2.87




In 1973 I took my Mexico City private high school 10th graders to the movies. My wife Rosemary accompanied us. The film was called Tis Pity She’s a Whore. It was directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi and the female lead (most important) was the dazzling Charlotte Rampling (picture, right, by photographer Angelo Frontoni). I thought I was safe in taking my students to see this “art” film since the screenplay was based on a play by the English Jacobean/Caroline playwright John Ford (1586-1640). The Italian film had the same title as Ford's play.

My students were a good bunch and kept their mouths shut in school the next day. I was given no trouble by the principal who was a member of the John Birch Society. I went home with the visions of Charlotte Rampling wearing nothing on an elaborate bed inside a Venetian palazzo.



In 1987 I made one of my usual trips to Toronto to see magazine art directors. I would show them my portfolio and attempt to get new work. This ploy sometimes worked. What was memorable of that trip is that I went to a huge bookstore, off Yonge Street, and found a book, Charlotte Rampling – With Compliments. It is an autobiographical picture book (from the very beginning and up to 1987) and it has an introduction by Dirk Bogarde. I will not go here into why anybody who reads this should immediately find a DVD version of The Night Porter (with Bogarde and Rampling) or if not in such a daring spirit go for: Luchino Visconti’s tamer The Damned.



While I would place Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr or Jean Simmons on a pedestal and admire each one chastely, I might consider leaving Rosemary to cook her own meals while I was off for a weekend with Charlotte Rampling (with or without my camera).



It was in the Rampling book that I saw four photographs of her by Helmut Newton including the one you see here taken in an expensive Paris hotel room. There was Venice and there was Paris. Here I was in Vancouver. What could I possibly do after all that inspiration? The adapted formula became a steady stream of women that faced my camera in the best room that Tony Ricci could muster in his Marble Arch Hotel. I photographed very beautiful women.

I photographed unusually endowed women. I photographed handsome women. Those who frequent this blog have seen quite a few of them. But it has been in the last month that I figured it all out. I will never find a Charlotte Rampling. I have had many failures which are not the fault of the women who posed for me.

It was a failure of approach. In the beginning I was much too inexperienced and all I wanted was to photograph my subjects without clothing. These pcitures lack the class of Helmut Newton. In the end, the secret to my modest success was the use of clothing to hide and of undergarments that were simple.


This combination produced pictures, particularly those of Claire Love (who did go to Paris) that you see here and are all tinted in red. The other photograph is one of my early attempts. The picture is fine, the woman, Vantana, is beautiful but there is something missing. I take the blame.








     

Previous Posts
Visceral & Cerebral

Miss Havisham & Estella Revisited

Vancouver's Vertical Gated Communities

A Photographic Imperative

The Simple Things In Life & A Manzanilla Papirusa

Forward To The Past

Le Petit Chaperone Rouge

Evening At Home (With Bitterness)

A Pomelo & Queso Tipo Roquefort

Adiós Hemingway - Hello Again, Bookstores?



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7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17