Rip Georges, Empty Bathrooms & Belinda CarrWednesday, November 17, 2010
In the late 80s Malcolm Parry, editor of Vancouver Magazine used to tell me, “The magazine downstairs (both magazines were in one building on Davie at Richards, a Blenz now), Western Living is about photographs of bathrooms devoid of people.” And then with a gleeful grin he would stand up and drop large piles of book or magazine and books on the floor and say, “Chris Dahl’s office is downstairs; let’s shake him up a bit.” Chris Dahl had been art director of Vancouver Magazine until then both he and Mac had won that prestigious National Magazine Award for Vancouver Magazine. Perhaps Mac had been miffed to have been abandoned by Dahl who moved downstairs.
Rick Staehling (who had art directed Vancouver Magazine for many years before Dahl arrived from Toronto fresh from big city experience with Maclean’s) was hired back. Mac then decided that Vancouver Magazine needed a re-design so he hired a then highfalutin art director (and still highfalutin) Rip Georges to do some consulting in the re-design. Georges’claim to fame was that he had been the art director of the snazzy LA Style and had moved from there to the highly regarded Washington DC magazine Regardie’s. And before he had managed to warm up his seat in DC he had moved on to the more prestigious Esquire.
Mac and Rick felt that there were only two photographers, from their stable of freelancers in Vancouver that they were proud enough (or perhaps not ashamed of) to introduce to the visiting Georges. They were fashion photographer Chris Haylett and me. The big day came and to our disdainful surprise we found out that Georges had recommended that Vancouver Magazine (at the time there were next to no newsstand sales of the magazine as it was delivered to the “correct” homes) run big pictures on the cover with next to no copy to give readers and indication of what might be inside. He further recommended a Time Magazine thing called an ear on the upper right hand corned of the cover that would proclaim some special feature to be found inside. That was it! I remember Haylett looking at me and saying, “They have paid this guy all this money to be told what we would have told them for free!”
While I don’t remember having been rude, Mac was livid with us telling us we had treated the man ungraciously. I distinctly remember Mac looking at me and telling me, “You were rude.”
A few years later the folks at the Exposure Gallery on Beatty Street paid that rude dynamic duo, Haylett and me to give a figure photography seminar. This may have been the mid 90s and it was tough to find models that would undrape fully for the camera. I found a lovely one called Belinda Carr. I took three pictures of her in the presence of all those who had paid good money to see us work. I used Polaroid b+w instant negative and projected a Rosco cityscape gobo on the wall. After my pictures Haylett disappeared with Carr to another room. He said he wanted to tell her something. Even then Haylett had that pleasant way with women. They returned and he placed a large mirror on one side of the room. He pointed a quartz light on it and had the mirror reflect the warmish quartz light back to Carr who was leaning against the wall. It was then that Haylett told us, “This is how they achieve that late sundown light back in Hollywood.”
We all wowed and ohmygoshed.