A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Alexis Macdonald - A Beauty From The Past
Sunday, February 13, 2011


On Saturday night Rosemary, Rebecca, Lauren and I went to the Vancouver Public Library, the main branch on Robson. It is conveniently close to our favourite Next Noodle Bar. On the way we passed by a brand new building that seemed to be a condo. But I read on the plate glass window, Blanche Macdonald CentreDowntown Campus. It brought back memories of my beginnings as a photographer in Vancouver.



It may have been sometime around 1978 when I was assigned by Vancouver Magazine to photograph Blanche Macdonald. She had founded a modeling agency in Vancouver quite a few years before but had decided to further her education in law at UBC. She wanted to help the people of her kind at a time when racial prejudice in our parts was quite rampant. I had never seen a Native Canadian model in any Eaton's, The Hudson's Bay Company, Sears or Woodward's flyers. The only "Indian" I had ever seen at the CBC was the one actor in the then popular Beachcomber's.

I photographed the striking woman who was a Métis and had begun her career as a model in 1949 as Miss English Bay. While taking her portrait Macdonald introduced me to a very tall and beautiful woman. It was her daughter Alexis. Blanche Macdonald asked me to photograph her.

Because of Blanche Macdonald’s connection with Native Canadian elders I was given permission to take photographs inside the new Arthur Erickson designed Museum of Anthropology. I have the thought that I would never ever be able to repeat this session in the same place!

Through the years I have run into Alexis Macdonald who had artistic ambitions. I believe she let go of any control of her mother’s school and became an artist. I have not seen her in at least 15 years. These photographs are primitive in their execution and the colour negatives have shifted badly so that I really cannot correct them. What you see here is the best I can do. But the pictures do reveal the quiet beauty of woman who might have been a famous model but chose otherwise. I have a fondness for these pictures even if they are unsophisticated in their execution. In spite of it Alexis Macdonald shines.














     

Previous Posts
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Not Gabrielle Rose...

The Great Expectations Of Judy Brown

Blowing In The Wind & Turkey Pot Pie

Fred Herzog - Reading Pictures

La Noche Boca Arriba

Potential Energy -The Human Kind

Arthur B. Hiatt & Those Black Cordovan Chukkas

That Di Quella Pira Moment In Great Expectations

Posing Nude - My Experience

Betty Comden & Adolph Green At August: Osage Count...



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2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17