That Voluptuous Woman On The Red SofaSunday, May 23, 2010
The woman wasn’t wearing anything. She had a big smile and with a heavy lisp she said to me, “Hi, my name is Jill and I am an actor.”
Since this was sometime around 1979 I was confused. The woman had voluptuous hips (and voluptuous everywhere else) and a narrow waist that would have made Victorian gentlemen gag on their claret. Facing me was a woman yet she called herself an actor. I thought to myself, “What is the market for a woman with a heavy lisp who calls herself an actor? “
The fact is that Jill Daum became a consummate local actress. I choose actress because I still have a fond memory for the PanAm stewardesses in their tight suits and when possible I try to bring up the subject of Amelia Earhart since I then use that beautiful word aviatrix.
Daum took speech therapy lessons and lost all vestiges of her lisp. But that was later. I had to photograph the woman facing me who wasn’t wearing anything. I wasn’t either as we were both sunning ourselves on Wreck Beach.
I did get to photograph Daum a few times. And with her I went the gamut from the landscape nude (“Look, doesn’t the human body resemble a sand dune in the Sahara?) to the domestic nude. Of the latter I have some exquisite photographs of Daum in her bathtub (no water) where I used a special film, Kodak SO 410 which had been manufactured to photograph solar flares but which we photographers used to render the human skin as magical. But I cannot show you those pictures here because of my self-imposed restrictions on nudes. Nor can I show you the beautiful pictures of Daum sitting by her kitchen range. The straight lines of the range contrast ever so nicely with her curves. But I do think I will show you one of the pictures where you cannot only see those hips, that waist but also that pair of wonderful dimples. These are from a series where I used Kodak b+w Infrared film.
If I am a fair photographer now it has all to do with the people I photographed early in my career. I really did not know what I was doing but Daum had patience and a smile that always set me straight.
It was a particular pleasure for me to introduce Rebecca to Daum the other day when we went to the opening of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. Daum has elegant gray hair and she has that smile. And I did notice that the hips and the waist were all there just as I remembered them some 31 years ago.