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




 

Miss Mew Revisited
Monday, July 16, 2012

Miss Mew at Gary Taylor's Rock Room


In my years as a photographer in Vancouver I have been around film makers during film and TV serial shoots. I have noticed how many directors take many takes and in the end they have the look at the first take and they realize that it is the best. They see that the subsequent takes deteriorate as actors get frustrated, bored and tired.

The same thing happens to me with portrait photography. Last week I photographed my 14 year-old granddaughter. She asked me to take edgy pictures in the living room. For this she wore a sleeveless black dress that was quite short. When she arrived I was in the garden and on a lark I asked her to pose behind a miscanthus (ornamental grass) and I snapped a Fuji Instant Film picture. I immediately saw it as a first take wonder. Rebecca insisted in rearranging her hair and asked me to take a second shot. The moment somehow was lost and the picture had no impact. The later pictures taken with the black dress in the living room were not to my liking.



In a very distant past, 1982 to be exact Les Wiseman and I worked on a project for Vancouver Magazine that was all about the exotic dancer scene in Vancouver. In order to convince Editor Malcolm Parry on their relevance Wiseman pushed the idea about writing the money/business side of it. What he really wanted to do was to interview all our favourite dancers and have me photograph them. We made a list. On that list was Miss Mew (that was my nickname for her). Perhaps by not revealing her real name she might be delivered from the embarrassment that some ex dancers must face every now and then.

With things as they stand these days with on-line pornography and racy movies that in comparison to anything back in the 80s seem more than racy I sometimes believe that having been a stripper in this city has a neat cachet. The whole business now seems almost innocently clean.


The fact is that few in my circles did not understand why I was a fan of Miss Mew. To me she had perfect white skin (I was not to find out until much later that she used lots of makeup to cover up delightful freckles) that resembled the best Devon cream. She had a dark side in that she danced to alternative scene music or stuff that other dancers avoided like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. In her choice of dance music Wiseman agreed that she was a star. Her movements when dancing were slow almost as if she were film projected in slow motion. These movements were supremely graceful plus she had a most pleasant smile. Her eyes seemed to be the lazy I-am-going-to-go-to-sleep-soon that Robert Mitchum had. But my imagination told me that her eyes were about a woman who had had a siesta in the tropics and was ready for her gin sling.

Had I been around (my relations with Miss Mew were always professional) she would have asked for that drink with a voice that resembled that of a good mezzo soprano.

My friend John Lekich used to enjoy accompanying me to the old Dianne Farris Gallery on 6th Avenue. A young lady who worked there was extremely beautiuful and Lekich one told me of her, "She is the only woman I know whose chest blushes." It never occured me to tell Lekich that Miss Mew's chest was every bit as elegant as Grace Kelly's neck.

I have been looking at her pictures in my files and I could populate my blog for days with her pictures. I just might do that later in the week but meanwhile I will post these as samples.

There is an interesting paradox here that involves the naming of Miss Mew. Many of her pictures I cannot scan as they deteriorated and were ruined when our aging cat, Gaticuchi went on a rampage in my darkroom thanks to the fact that my wife did not close the door to our basement that led to my darkroom. Gaticuchi urinated over a huge set of negatives that I had yet to file that were in my darkroom floor. Many of those were colour negative versions of these that I took of Miss Mew dancing at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room. The paradox is that Wiseman’s article almost became a cover but the published had cold feet and opted for a picture of a cat. Writer Sean Rossiter had written and article “My Cat Has Cancer” and provided Vancouver Magazine with an excellent illustration. Editor Parr did not want to put the illustration on the cover and asked me to go home and take a shot of Gaticuchi and to make sure all his whiskers were sharp.



Time has softened my anger at the mess of those negatives and I can only guess to what extent so many pictures of Miss Mew and other dancers were ruined by the cat.


































     

Previous Posts
Ashtray Heart

Decker - Cat & Nick Hunt - 19th Century Amateur

George Bowering - Poet

There Is A Willow Grows Aslant A Brook

2001: A Space Odyssey - An Appreciation Of Sorts

Johnny Tomorrow, The Planetarium - 2001: A Space ...

A Green Old Man, Cowboy Boots & Teilhard de Chardi...

We Stay

The Moon & The Planets Are There

Rebecca Poses After a Year's Hiatus



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5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17