An Unromantic Interpretation Of A Woman In Bed
Saturday, February 11, 2012
As some who may be reading here you would be aware that I missed quite a few blogs before I went for a weekend to Austin on Thursday, February 9. Since I returned I have been filling in the gaps both backwards and forwards. The whole idea that a blog is a daily affair of writing down the important or relevant events of the day is a bit modified here. One of the advantages is that I can be much like God would be, as described by my long-time mentor Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. (the latter initials stand for congregation of Holy Cross in French. The order, priests, nuns and brothers, was founded in Le Mans in the 19th century).
We often asked him (in our efforts of wasting time in his religion class) about free will. If God knew in advance of a coming cataclysm why did He not ever prevent them? Was this an example of free will? His answer was a pragmatic gray, neither black nor white. He would have told us, “God is up in a mountain looking down on a sharp curve. Two cars are coming from both ends. In the middle of the curve, there is a large rock. Whichever driver sees it will by necessity have to steer the car into the other car, or the driver might just slam into the rock and thus the other driver might survive. God knows this. He sees this coming and does nothing. That is free will.”
Much like God I can write here what I am going to write about on Sunday February, 19. The blog is here
and it is called, On Reinterpretation – Lauri Stallings
What you see here is a stark portrait of one of my most popular (to me) photographic subjects who happens to be a professional dominatrix. In the photo here and others that I took I photographed her in her extremely small sleeping cubicle that resembles some of those capsule hotels in Japanese airports. I wanted to re-visit but somehow re-interpret my somewhat cliché and romantic view of the woman photographed in bed.
Yuliya was nursing the end of a cold. She had rings under her eye and put on little makeup. In the picture here I could remove (in the blink of an eye closing and opening) those rings. I chose to not do so ( I did a bit, I must confess )as I like the in-your-face starkness and darkness of her expression. The room was so small that the 50mm wide angle of my Mamiya RB-67 could barely handle the limits of the rooms. I have done here what I would damn any of my students for doing. Yuliya’s fingers are cropped. That’s very bad. Also bad is how I cropped her feet. I might have been more careful.
But I still think that this picture has some sort of power to engage. It may not be romantic, but at my age that may be something of the past.
Brother Alex Gets A Haircut
Friday, February 10, 2012
When I arrived at the door of St. Joseph Hall Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. was waiting for me at the door. My plane had arrived late so he said, “Alex, we have sat down for supper so put you stuff here and let’s go to eat.”
Because Brother Edwin had recently had undergone a triple bypass operation I had decided to ask Brother William Nick, C.S.C. who is in charge of St. Joseph for accommodation. So I told Brother Edwin, “ I hope you don’t mind that I went over your head.” His reply (with that “oh, gosh’ smile of his was, “You didn’t.” Brother Edwin is ample proof that those old initials RHIP still holds true at St. Edward’s. For those who do not know it, the initials stand for rank has its privileges. On another day I was chatting with on-campus food manager, Michael Smith who told me, “When I want to cut the red tape I always deal with Brother Edwin.”
As soon as dinner was over (spaghetti and meatballs, boiled peas, salad, lemonade, and ice cream for dessert) Brother Edwin told me, “It seems you have not gotten a hair cut since I last saw you a year ago. You look like a hippie. We need to clean you up.” He gesticulated in the direction of the barber room (he’s the official barber in those parts) and I realized that there was nothing I could do about it. The operation took about 6 minutes.
That whole weekend I dressed in black, - brand new black jeans, a black turtleneck and a black blazer. Wherever I went (my glasses helped) I was greeted with “Good morning, brother.” In most of the Class of 62 (I was class of 61) homecoming events I sat with the brothers. I was asked to do so. A couple of days later I received handshakes and greetings at all times of the day by one of the university vice-presidents. I have to confess that I felt most flattered.
A Spiritual Retreat With the Brothers of Holy Cross In Austin
Thursday, February 09, 2012
|Lauren Elizabeth Stewart - Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. - |
Rebecca Anne Stewart & the wondrous Malibu at St.Ed's
Today I am flying to Austin. In the last few weeks I have suffered lots of stress, pain and a few sleepless nights. The change in Austin where I will be staying with the Brothers of Holy Cross at St Joseph Hall at St. Edward's University will be a good spiritual retreat for me. I will go to prayer, mass and converse with men who are erudite and pleasant. Best of all I will be able to break bread with my former teacher and mentor, Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. Those who may spend some time reading this blog will have to wait. But I guarantee that by next week when I come back, every day that is missing will be taken care of.
The picture above is of Brother Edwin with my two granddaughters when we visited him last July. It is still a big thrill for me to think that the man who taught me to play an alto saxophone when I was 16 would be here leaning against our wondrous Malibu with my two dear granddaughters!
Meredith Kalaman - Dancer/Choreographer
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Meredith Kalaman - Dancer/Choreographer
Me & My meeting with the red shawl. A curious task you might call it to find a way to wear a shawl that you know those before you have already posed in and that others after will continue to do so. I was perplexed at how I would "find" myself in this article that wields so much history and presence itself. And yet there it was clothes pinned and wrapped around me like a piece of armor as if I were heading off to battle or posing post war with my medals pinned to my shoulder. History runs deep and even though in my life time I have experienced very little of the evolutions that have graced this earth, I somehow felt rooted to the earth and the history before me that brought me to my time on this earth. All of a sudden I felt grateful for the moment when that feeling was documented, by Alex. I felt a grin come over my face thinking about the person who one day long in the future may find this photo and wonder how I came to pose in the red shawl....
A Gloomy Sunny Day In Punta Del Este, Uruguay
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
I look with sadness at these pictures which I look at every once in a while. I found these youngsters on the beach of Punta del Este, Uruguay in the late 80s when Mark Budgen and I were assigned by Toronto based magazine Vista
to do pieces on Argentina and Uruguay. I feel a melancholy when I look at them because I know that the fresh look of youth of this bunch must by now be almost gone and worse of all unnamed as I never wrote their names down. There is a loneliness in their expression that haunts me, perhaps more so because of these cold and gloomy days of a rainy Vancouver winter.
The Perfect Square
Monday, February 06, 2012
Whatever success I ever obtained for shooting for magazines came when in the late 70s I opted to buy what was then a new fangled camera, the RB-67
with a 6x7 cm format and the innovative revolving back (from vertical to horizontal). I remember an art director, Rick Staehling who called me one day and told me he had an assignment for me in which he stipulated that I use that big camera I had showed him.
During the many years that I shot for magazines my photographs were rarely cropped. One of the reasons is that the revolving back “forced” me to look at everything as both (not either) a horizontal and vertical interpretation. I had received assignments for vertical full page (bleed is the term) photos but when the art director would see a horizontal version he would sometimes convert it into a two-page spread and force the editor to reduce the poor writer’s copy!
For me the square format is the ambivalent format of a person not willing to make a commitment. This person can make the choice later (sort of like exposing in digital RAW). Except for those who shot for record albums (not much of an art now as the soon-to-disappear CDs and their covers were and are much too small for any detail to be important) life is not square.
If you look around with care you might find that the Greeks were aware that a square was a static shape and that life was really never square. So they invented the perfect square which was ever so slightly taller than wide. The Greeks without being sure of the existence of gravity somehow corrected what we would now call visual gravity and made their square taller so that we could flatten it with our imagination.
For me the square in either film or digital format is a shape that does not lend itself to a creativity of the magazine kind. Books and magazines are all rectangles.
It was, paradoxically, the advent of the first Apple computers in the 80s which were quickly adopted by forward thinking art directors and magazine designers that changed everything for a while. In an era where photographs were pasted on with wax on magazine facsimiles the computer liberated these art directors from the problem of designing pages for vertical or horizontal art. They started assigning photographers and illustrators to shoot and draw squares. Issues could be designed with months in advance to suit anything provided. That’s when magazines (for a while) forgot that one big picture usually trumped many small ones. Magazines in those days were littered with little square pictures and art directors ignored the intentions of photographers and illustrators and designed pages, flipping and moving images around in their Apples.
A Dominatrix Smiles
Sunday, February 05, 2012
|Yuliya & friend|
Yuliya is my Ukrainian dominatrix friend. She was not always a dominatrix. I first met her at least 10 years ago at a school where I teach photography. She was our model. I was immediately fascinated by her elegance. She had some traits that would make her boil over. One of them was to ask her, “Are you from the Ukraine?” Her answer was usually, “ Expletive…Ukraine. Just Ukraine.” I sympathized with her as I feel the same about those Americans (and Canadians, too) who say, “I am headed to the Yucatan.” If I were as blunt as Yuliya is I would use the same expletives and explain it’s just Yucatán.
Yuliya has made rolls of money happily tromping on men’s backs with her $3000 Laboutin boots. She does other things to them (or they might suck on her foot extremities, something I might write here without offending anybody, too much) that I cannot write here.
It was not too long ago that some friends of mine were having lunch at the Railway Club and my friend John Lekich said something about shoes that made one of our guests, a well known Vancouver poet of the female variety, remove her shoe (black pumps) and loudly bang it on the table Russian style. And she told an amazed Lekich, “I do this all the time. I walk on their backs and I am paid very well.” Lekich, who holds all women on top of tall pedestals, was crushed.
This fetish thing is now most mainstream. There is a Thursday Fetish Night BYOW (bring your own whip) on Springer Avenue in Burnaby. If it’s in Burnaby, it has to be mainstream. Yes?
I think that Yuliya, an intelligent handler of money, has concluded that her profession is now in decline so she is going to study yoga so she can teach it. She is also going to become a Buddhist. The latter may have been precipitated by the removal of her gall bladder stones. She wants to live a healthy life. Unhealthy men with unhealthy appetites will have to look elsewhere.