La Balas Del DiabloWednesday, August 18, 2010
If any of my readers have been poking around here of late you may have noticed that within a few hours I was able to locate three poems about mirrors by Jorge Luís Borges. Alas I have found no translations for any of them and I don’t plan to attempt an Adolfo Bioy Casares. It was Bioy Casares who with the help of Borges (who was an ardent anglophile) re-wrote into English part of the Borgesian output.
I had to find some poems about mirrors to serve as an excuse to place some of my latest mirror shots which I took last week in which I alternated my iPhone snaps with those taken with two conventionally (as in film) loaded Nikon FM-2s.
My granddaughters, daughter and son-in-law are off to the supposed wonders of Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Sand Diego Sea World. I suppose that Knott’s Berry Farm may have a shared significance with Jennifer Anniston. Both are famous for being famous. It was sometime around 1963 that my 8-year-old first-cousin, David Humphrey accompanied me to the Mexico City Zoo. I proudly pointed at an adult hippopotamus that was basking, semi-immersed, in a sunny natural-looking pond. My nephew complained, “He is not half as interesting as the one in Disneyland. That one moves more and makes more noise.” I tried to explain that the Disney version was a plastic animatron but to no avail. It was then that I decided I would never ever go to Disneyland on pure principle.
In 1975 we (Rosemary, Ale and Hilary) drove from Mexico City to Vancouver. We stopped in Los Angeles where I was going to stock up on new photographic equipment for the new chosen profession I had picked for myself for Vancouver. I dropped off the girls and wife at the front door of Disneyland and promptly went to buy my cameras.
But I should not be a party pooper. My granddaughters are girls (one a little one) and they must be allowed to be girls and enjoy being children. Not everything has to be “usefully cultural”. I just miss them as I am sure Rosemary misses long telephone chats with Hilary. Rosemary lent Hilary our Telus calling card but I have stressed to Hilary that her phone calls from California have to be brief.
All this brings me to the desperation and isolation I have been feeling of late. The trip to Texas is over. There is no immediate prospect of work. Perhaps, if enough people sign up at Focal Point I might be teaching Portraiture Through the Ages and The Modern Portrait Nude. My friend Ian Bateson is in England so I cannot have my weekly lunch with him or discuss politics in BC with him.
These current blogs are the result of this desperation/isolation with a tad of boredom. Not that I am bored. I have lots of interesting books to read. But I feel that during the day I must worry and fret about work (getting it). I must fret and worry about the used Chevrolet Malibu I am looking for (both in the Lower Mainland and in Washington State) to replace our leased Audi. Rosemary says she is depressed about losing Sophie. I tell her that we cannot afford another Sophie and that the Malibu, a mid-sized car will suit us fine.
This desperation/isolation/boredom with a tad of stress is causing me to do as we say in Spanish, “Cuando el diablo no tiene nada que hacer, con el rabo espanta moscas,” or “When the devil has nothing to do, he swats flies with his tails.”
Last week I took some iPhone nudes. One of the conventional camera pictures involving a mirror made it here and that’s when my devilish boredom got me into my tattered Jorge Luís Borges – Obra Poética 1923/1977.
Last night (Monday, I am writing this on Tuesday morning) I thought of the little wooden mirror in our guest bathroom. I placed it on the scanner and put some of last week’s mirror shots underneath it. The scan showed I needed a larger (a medium format) negative. So I went to my files and found the pictures of Jo-Ann the Thursday Girl who for some years has posed for me two or three times a year on a Thursday.
That resulted in this. And I found the last of the mirror poems in the Borges book.
Today I looked at Jo-Ann’s file and noticed (I must beat on my own drum) that many of the pictures are good. There just does not seem to be a venue for them.
It was only a couple of months ago that I received a phone call from my ailing (Parkinson’s) friend Sean Rossiter. “I have been thinking about it these days. I think that your blog could serve me well as a platform for some of the stuff I want to write.” I, too, thought this was a good idea. Rossiter wanted to write a bit about civic affairs and of his problems in walking the area of Broadway and Granville with his difficult disease. But he has yet to write anything and I hope that he finds a window of opportunity ( a better day, perhaps) to contribute to my blog. But then Rossiter has said it so well, “The blog is an ideal platform.” It is an ideal platform for what you see here today.
I looked a these pictures where I tried to combine white tape with the nude female body. I could not find a rationalization and brought in the mirror. Most of the pictures cannot be posted here as their nudity might offend some. In fact you might note that in yesterday’s blog I used the Photoshop dodging tool to blur those offending private bits.
I looked at three frames, two of which had the strange human figures, outside on Robson by the Eaton’s/Sears wall. The figures, as I enlarged them made me think of that other Argentine writer and friend of my father’s, Julio Cortázar, whose 1959 short story collection, Las Armas Secretas included a short story, Las Babas del Diablo (literally, The Droolings of the Devil) inspired Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1967 film Blowup. In that film David Hemmings (who plays a fashion photographer) is obsessed by the details of a negative he took. He believes he is observing a murder.
So here you have my little ceremonia in honour of Cortázar in which Jo-Ann and some white tape get together to create something I did not see the first time around. I think I must get into that fly swatting mode more often.
I use the word ceremonia because I have a volume by Julio Cortázar called Ceremonias (1966/68) that compiles two volumes of short stories, his 1956 Final del Juego with Las Armas Secretas. For reasons that I have never been able to clear up there is an interesting typo. The index lists Las Babas del Diablo as Las Balas del Diablo, or the Devil’s Bullets! What would Antonioni’s photographer make of that?
and more Jo-Ann
and even more Jo-Ann
more Jo-Ann again
and that's it