Not An Old ShoeWednesday, July 14, 2010
As a photographer in my teens I photographed everything that moved or did not move. But I soon found out that my interest did not lie with landscapes (I have always opted for buying the postcard) or in “documenting” telephone posts. My interest has always been in people and in their portraiture.
I look at the current crop of photography magazines that advertise $6000 Canons and Nikons that are supposed to do everything. I look at the pictures in the “articles” of these magazines and I see pristine and perfect landscapes. One in particular is a frequent one. This is the mountain, sky lake scene in which the reflection on the lake surface is so perfect you have no idea wherein lies the reflection and wherein the real thing. But rarely do I see portraits. These expensive cameras are directed to folks who document landscapes, plants, flowers, hummingbirds and things. Humanity seems to be left out.
It was sometime in the early 80s that I was given a job to take PR photos for Air Canada by its publicist and marketing manager, Harry Atterton. I will never forget what he told me, “You will photograph lots of airplanes and stuff but I always want the human presence in every picture you take even if it has to be an old shoe.” I never disagreed with Atterton and I became a better photographer for it.
Sometime around 1990 Rosemary dragged me to a meeting of the Vancouver Rose Society held at VanDusen’s Floral Hall. The chairs were uncomfortable and I was forced to watch the projection of at least 100 colour slides (mostly bad ones) of rose close-ups. I could not believe I had been dragged to such a thing and I have always reminded Rosemary of this! That slide projection was a small indicator of what real hell could be.
I have been known to scan every one of my over 90 garden roses and I have scanned thistles, ferns and other flowers. Occasionally I post them here but I am aware that only a rose purist would appreciate the turn of a petal of Tour de Malakoff or the mottled effect on Soleil Brillant or Alain Blanchard. I keep my pictures of roses on this blog to a minimum.
But every once in a while I see something at home particularly in these summer months when light streaks into the living room and I pick up my Nikon FM-2 and take shots of things. I enjoy taking them. The results are always a bit disappointing. The look of the objects on our living room mantel was dazzling, but the resulting slides are so-so. Here they are for your perusal. In that box of slides of objects on our mantel and groupings of roses in the garden there was this snap of Lauren at the Macmillan Bloedel Conservatory. I would think that Harry Atterton, ensconced in a Chateau in France would agree that Lauren is even better than an old shoe.