A FaceTuesday, October 19, 2010
I do believe that the most beautiful woman I ever photographed was a woman of Finnish extraction called Lisa Montonen. When I met her she was hanger on with Vancouver’s then beautiful crowd. One day she decided to enter a beauty competition that was held at the Drake Strip Bar. It was odd to see women keep their clothes on (it was oddly erotic) as they paraded their bodies on the platform of the bar. Lisa did not win and she was in tears. I attempted to comfort her by telling her that the other women were all very pretty but that only she was beautiful. She never did understand.
Some weeks ago as I was taking my granddaughter Rebecca to watch a laser show of Pink Floyd’s The Wall at the Planetarium she told me, “Papi I am depressed because a boy at school told me I was kind of pretty.”
I realized that she was living a moment similar to Lisa Montonen’s. We live in a time when all those women who appear in Hollywood films all seem to have the same perfect features and the same hair. The only one of them all that intrigues me is Lady Gaga because you can really never see her face. She is almost a mystery.
I tried to explain to Rebecca that her own face has a complexity and not that stamped-out uniformity of so many beautiful women of our times. I told her about such stars as Gene Tierney, Monica Vitti, and my ever favourite Charlotte Rampling and Molly Parker. I think I may have gotten through to Rebecca. I am aware that at age 13 how one is seen by others is far more important than in our later years. I further told her that her friend might just be a bit more perceptive than most when he called her "kinda pretty".
Meanwhile I enjoy taking pictures of that face.