Georgia O'Keeffe & Flying SaucersSaturday, March 09, 2013
|My snap of Philippe Halsman's portrait of
When I was in the 9th grade I rekindled my interest in flying saucers. A few years earlier I had posed, for a portrait photographer my mother and uncle had hired, with my first cousin Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena in our Buenos Aires home. We were handling (fondling might be the better word) a couple of model airplanes Wency’s father had made. I am fondling his flying saucer. It was maneuverable, much more so than the normal U-control airplanes he built from scratch.
Radio-controlled model airplanes were in their infancy so the U-control plane was in fashion. The flyer would (after a cohort had started the plane for him or if he himself had done so, the cohort would hold it) with a U-shaped handle which had two very thin but strong wires that were connected to the planes ailerons for up and down movements. Because of the wires the plane could only fly in a circle with my uncle handling it around and managing not to get dizzy until gas gave out and the plane would then be coaxed into a graceful landing.
There were “combat” contests in which two planes would be carefully flown by the two contestants as if the wires of one caught on to the wires of the other… Both planes had long paper streamers attached to the planes’ tail. The idea was to cut the other plane’s streamers with your plane’s propellers. My Uncle Tony’s saucer could do flips at lightning speed. It was the king of the GE Field where enthusiast flew the planes during the weekends.
The problem is that the tractor trailers that traveled at night on the nearby Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas where my boarding school was would and did modify the magnetic field near my compass. After a few nights of midnight ringing Brother Vincent de Paul, CSC told me to shut of my flying saucer spotter.
In my 10th grade I bought a Pentacon-F single lens reflex. The first pictures I remember taking were of our room light that dangled from the ceiling. The reflector with the bulb barley visible from the side, in a darkened room looked like a flying saucer. Of the few negatives that I ever took that I have lost through the years it’s the flying saucer one!
Shortly after my interest in taking pictures of things, even if otherworldly ones waned and I began taking street photographs and from there into my real love of portraiture.
Of my rose and plant scans my only excuse is that, particularly with my roses, I see them, as them, as people. They are rose portraits.
The idea of taking pictures of lighthouses, trees, telephone posts or interesting cityscapes is anathema.
And yet today at precisely 4:50 PM (I had noticed this scene, a few times on different days, I ran for my Mamiya RB, tripod and loaded the camera with Fuji Instant B+w Fill FP- 3000b and took the picture. The low light scraping through the trees in the garden lit the picture of Philippe Halsman’s book back cover portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe.
I am pleased with the snap even though this is the sort of thing I avoid. On the other had I just wish I had one of those lights hanging from a ceiling…