Wally, Sylvia & JTuesday, November 06, 2012
Mamiya RB-67 Pro SD 50mm lens
Fuji b+w instant print film 3200 ISO
Taken November 6, 2012, 12 noon
Last week I photographed J for my red shawl series. On November 1, my NY Times had an article called Egon Schiele’s Women a show at Galerie St. Etienne in New York City. Egon Schiele is an Austrian painter I have admired for a long time.
Yesterday at my Oakridge branch of the Vancouver Public Library I perused the box of books that are either rejects or books given to them that the do not want. There was a poetry book. The sign on the wall noted that hardcover novels cost $3.00 and hardcover non-fiction was $2.00 the librarian looked at the pristine Ted Hughes Birthday Letters, smiled and said, “I will give you a deal I will charge you $2.00.”
I took the book home and read it cover to cover. Except for two poems the rest are about Hughes’s wife Sylvia Plath. In the fall of 1955 Sylvia Plath traveled to England on a Fulbright Scholarship.The first poem in Birthday Letters is:
Where was it, in the Strand? A display
Of news items, in photographs.
For some reason I noticed it.
A picture of that year’s intake
Of Fulbright Scholars. Just arriving—
Or arrived. Or some of them.
Were you among them? I studied it,
Not too minutely, wondering
Which of them I might meet.
I remember that thought. Not
Your face. No doubt I scanned particularly
The girls. Maybe I noticed you.
Maybe I weighed you up, feeling unlikely.
Noted your long hair, loose waves—
Your Veronica Lake bang. Not what it hid.
It would appear blond. And your grin.
Your exaggerated American
Grin for the cameras, the judges, the strangers, the frighteners.
Then I forgot. Yet I remember
The picture: the Fulbright Scholars.
With their luggage? It seems unlikely.
Could they have come as a team? I was walking
Sore-footed, under hot sun, hot pavements.
Was it then I bought a peach? That’s as I remember.
From a stall near Charing Cross Station.
It was the first fresh peach I had ever tasted.
I could hardly believe how delicious.
At twenty-five I was dumbfounded afresh
By my ignorance of the simplest things
|Wally in the Red Blouse With Raised Knees - Egon Schiele|
Reading about Hughes’s first peach at age 25 reminded me of my first peach yoghurt when I was 21. I have never ever wanted to try yoghurt as I thought it was rotten milk. One day at the office of the Senior American Naval Advisor in Buenos Aires where as a sailor in the Argentine Navy I worked as a translator, I was offered yoghurt. Edna Gahan, my typist (she received a generous salary and I earned $2.00 military pay a month) told me that her peach yoghurt (La Vascongada brand) was wonderful. I refused her offer of a spoonful. I finally relented. I have loved yoghurt since and especially when it is peach flavoured.
The other item in the above poem that grabbed my eye was that Sylvia Plath was a blonde.
Today I photographed J. Here for your perusal is J wearing a blonde wig. Is she Wally in Red Blouse With Raised Knees by Egon Schiele or Sylvia Plath? You decide.