Friday, August 12, 2011
The Allure of Imperfection
One of the singular pleasures of being a photographer of people is the one of being able to photograph them more than once. I am not too sure if my two cats can ascertain change even though they can adapt to it. After our three-week vacation in south Texas, they immediately recognized us when we arrived. They had adjusted to a completely different schedule in which my daughter Hilary left them out for most of the day and had food and water for them outside, too which was not normal for them. Can animals notice change or the passing of time? Would they understand the Catholic concept of purgatory?
For me to catch and observe time is a most human pleasure particularly when I follow it and how it changes and has changed one of the most beautiful women I ever met in my life. I first saw her around 1979 and until about six years ago I photographed her every few years. An ex student of mine, Gabriel Beltrán, who lives in a now dangerous Monterrey in Mexico wrote recently in facebook: I honestly don’t think Bar Refaeli is human.
I had no idea who this Bar Refaeli was so I went to my student’s link and found a most beautiful woman who looked much too young for my taste. Her perfection was off-putting. Such perfection point towards the direction of the essay in Thursday’s NY Times about a new scourge that promises to prevent " perfection" in that lofty space of female nothingness that we call cleavage. The scourge consists of vertical lines that happen for many reasons but one principal one is of larger sized women who sleep on their side and one breast will fall on the other and stretch. The cure (beyond that of new greedy plastic surgeons that will jump on this bandwagon) is a device that gently separates, etc…that a woman concerned about her perfect cleavage can wear to bed. My question is how this will affect religiously religious inclined men who opt for face to face sex.
All the above is but an overture for the real purpose of this blog and that is to parade here these photographs of Tarren, some of which I have shown before but I have re-scanned with esmero ( a fine Spanish word that means with special care).
I wish I could explain to my ex-student what it is about Tarren that is in such opposition to the perfect and not human Bar Rafaeli. With Tarren it was beyond her body and more about a personality that beautifully made me understand why women are God’s best gift to man.
As Tarren began to age (not that I could notice the effects much) her personality became ever more vivacious. If anything I would cite the paradox that her sexuality was more evident. Snapping her picture was like taking out a hot peach cobbler from the oven without oven mitts. I had to be careful not to burn myself. It was this sense of proximate danger that made Tarren one of the most desirable women I have ever met. I hope that these pictures somehow convey that truth, that to me, is beyond contention.
The last picture here is one of those lucky (unlucky) shots where I try to get more than 36 exposures from a roll. The ony way is to load the camera in a darkroom so that you can get a picture in the leader or beginning of a roll. Here you see what happens and how paradoxically, (Gabriel Beltrán, please take note) imperfection adds to the final allure.
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward at 12:12 PM