HairTuesday, December 21, 2010
Today I had a job in my home studio. It was fun and as soon as I was finished I enjoyed the comfort of knowing I really did not have to do anything more of importance for at least a couple of weeks. But I must bring in money while the kettle is hot so I must scan the processed transparencies and develop the rolls of b+w that I shot. This means that my tasks for the year are not quite over. But the stress of worry is not to be for the remainder of the year. I will enjoy, eventually, not having to do anything, or even to get out of bed. I will read, drink all the good teas I have (and a brand new, and extra big ceramic mug) and cuddle, not only with my wife, but with our two cats.
I will spend some time (an enjoyable one) in my darkroom printing some negatives of Rebecca and of some clients who wanted Christmas portraits. Being in the darkroom out of choice and not of necessity is rewarding and even exciting. Most of my contemporaries have abandoned film and the darkroom and I feel now that I have joined the exclusive guild of the French Polishers, Spark Plug Gap Adjusters and the wet darkroom.
But that does not mean that I cannot indulge in the sheer joy of being at my monitor, with that large mug of tea, some good negatives or slides and that Epson V700 Photo scanner (thank you Charlie Smith!). The pictures you see here are the direct result of that scanner and the time I now have in my hands. I am discovering stuff I shot so long ago that I filed without even more than a cursory glance.
My eldest daughter is in town from Lillooet and staying with us. Yesterday I wrote about her and our trip in the Fiat to San Francisco. While looking for those negatives and slides I found these which I took in 1981 at Lynn Canyon.
I look at the pictures and I remember my mother because of a connection that is there by omission.
As a little boy and well into my late youth I used to hear my mother complain how her hair was unmanageable and much too straight. I believe she might have inherited her hair from one of our ancestors, the Roxas who were Chinese/Filipino. My mother wore her hair up with a bun behind very much like Katherine Hepburn in some of her films with Spencer Tracy. The bun consisted of a doughnut made from some fake hair to which she would carefully wrap the ends of her very long hair (down to almost her waist). On some days her hair would simply not cooperate. Sometimes she would blame it either on the hot or cold humid Buenos Aires climate. In Mexico City this was not an issue but she still complained.
My eldest daughter Ale has hair that is naturally wavy, thick, heavy and simply wonderful. Since I can remember she has hated her hair because she says it is much too heavy. She has chopped it, layered it and even gone for heavy metal type of cuts. But in the few years where she just let her hair be it was glorious.
That was the case in 1981 when we went to Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver and I suggested to Ale (who was 13) that she put her hair in the cold water as it rushed by. She protested but finally consented. I never did anything with the pictures. I recently found (and lost but I will find again) some Kodachrome versions of these. I used an extreme wide angle, a Pentax and Kodak Technical Pan Film. This film (I have written about it before) was rated at 25 ISO and it was the sharpest film ever made. An added bonus was its sensitivity towards the red spectrum. This means that anything red (like freckles, pimples, etc) was rendered almost invisible. It had a bit more contrast that I would have liked but the combination of contrast and red sensitivity made skin resemble the finest marble.
I would like to point out here that I have about 30 rolls of this film in 120 size (!) in my freezer just waiting for the perfect model.
That perfect model could be my Rebecca who of late has refused to pose for me. Her hair is just like Ale’s, thick, heavy, naturally curly and simply glorious. For the last couple of months she has opted to straighten it. I tell her that she looks like someone who would haunt the Metrotown Mall while chewing gum, but the insult has been to no avail, until recently. There has been a change.
Her new male friend has indicated that he likes her curly hair! I cannot wait to take some pictures. Kodak Technical Pan Film in 120? Perhaps.