Two Poles & An Irish LassWednesday, May 01, 2013
In my past and recent past one of the most thrilling reasons for being a photographer was the prospect of meeting someone I did not know, whom I had to photograph for a newspaper or magazine. Usually the publicist would say, “Alex you are going to have at the most 3 minutes.”
|Balthus without Marsden|
Many of those situations I did with three very good journalists, Christopher Dafoe (for the Globe & Mail), John Lekich (for the Georgia Straight) and Les Wiseman (for Vancouver Magazine. All three of them gave me permission (and this was not standard with other journalists of the time) to be present during the interview (usually a fine Vancouver hotel). This gave me the opportunity to size up my subject and to look for mannerisms or how the moved their hands. While this was going on I would set up by big medium format camera in a corner and the lights. Once the interview was over my subject was handed over to me. I had to do my thing in three or four minutes. But many a time we provincial Vancouverites managed to charm the subjects and they would linger and chat.
|Nude in Repose, Balthus 1977|
Today I had something similar happen. I was going to meet up with a person, in this case a woman I had photographed many times before. But there was one difference; she was coming to my house to pose for my Mamiya loaded with Fuji Instant Black & White Film FP-3000B. I was going to allow myself at the most three shots (in fact I took five) to get one shot and the accompanying Fuji negative peel that tomorrow will be placed in a frame at Final Touch Frames that is waiting for me with the two slots, one for the Fuji picture and the other for the peel. This frame will be up in my show at the Duthie Gallery that opens this Saturday. The work will have today’s date on it.
Bronwen Marsden, my subject called me a bit before she arrived and sounded giggly, perhaps pleasantly happy. I told her, “How can you be so unstressed when we have to take a picture that has to good enough to be framed tomorrow?” Her answer, which did not belie her confidence (she has it in spades), was, “Alex we always think of something.”
We did not find a wing chair like the one in the Balthus painting but one that is a fine antique wooden one. I placed it in front of the dining room table with the display of my soon to be spotted erotic 8x10s. I snapped a clothed one to see if it all was fine. It wasn’t as her chest area was over-exposed. I had to feather (upwards) my one light. And that was it. The fifth exposure was the one.
What you see here is the fully clothed negative peel as I gave the positive photograph to Bronwen to take home.
The real one will be at the show this Saturday. It is so much fun to be challenged to shoot on demand without the thought of failure. And coincidentally both Krzysztof Kieslowski and Count Balthasar Michel Klossowski de Rola are both Polish.
Balthus, Helen & a hole in the ground