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




 

My Boom's Decline
Friday, December 27, 2013




My eldest daughter Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward lives in Lillooet, British Columbia. She is an elementary school teacher there and happily lives in a one acre property with her cat Banjo.

When she comes to Vancouver she unleashes in our household this desire to organize our lives. I must admit that until she put some order into our basement both Rosemary and I felt there was nothing we could do with all the stuff. But with the objective point of view of our daughter Ale, the basement is now clear, neat and pretty clean. Gone is an obsolete photographic print dryer and a heavy but useless 11x14 dry mounting press. 

Much of my obsolete photographic equipment is against a wall where if I need it (who knows?) I can readily access it. One of the items, much too big to properly store is a Manfrotto super boom.

With this device I was able to suspend a light over my subjects in my studio which had a very high ceiling, one of the necessary requirements of the big Manfrotto boom. The boom with a light that has a grid on it (to narrow the direct beam) can make a wonderful back light and or hair light. Without a boom George Hurrell could never have taken his signature portraits of Marlene Dietrich nor would Dietrich then commanded her film’s directors to use the boom in most of her films.

But my boom had a special role in the portrait of my daughter which I took in 1991. It served to hold one end of my grandmother’s Seville mantilla.

This portrait which is in our bedroom is one of my most favourite portraits ever. In these last days of 2013 I asked myself why I took that picture. I asked myself why I took all those pictures of what every day appears to be a huge output. Here are my conclusions:

1. One never does stuff unless it is assigned. Having a job (even as a freelancer) as a photographer means that one will be assigned. Assignments produce an output.

2. When one exhibits in galleries one plans themes for a show. That produces an output.

3. When one exhibits in themed group exhibitions as I did for many years, that produces an output. In fact this picture of my daughter was my entry on a themed exhibition that may have had the title The Family.

4. When assignments evaporate, when a photographer’s studio is closed, as mine is, opportunities to go to the studio to think of creating something diminish.

5. When I was in my 40s and even 50 I could stop a woman on the street and within days she was undraped in my studio. These days these women might call the police. In jail I would miss my cooking.

6. My wife’s cat Casi-Casi will run away the moment you hold a camera to your face (even a phone). My youngest granddaughter will ask me, “How many pictures are you planning on taking?” The older one simply refuses to have her picture taken.

All that leaves me with a problem. I do not plan to enlarge my photographic output by recording lamp posts, fire hydrants or Vancouver sunsets. Any ideas?


Technical information on the above image. I projected my b+w negative on a sheet of 8x10 Kodak Kodalith (lith film). I processed it in photographic paper developer. This produced a continuous tone (not the usual high contrast that lith film used to be used for) b+w transparency. For my purposes it has to be slightly lighter than a normal photographic print on paper. I immersed the lith film (after very careful washing) in a 1 to 9 bath of selenium toner for archival purposes and to give the picture a warmish tone. I then mounted the transparency with archival sticky tape on a mirror finish silver card.
 The picture is supposed to slightly resemble a Daguerreotype. It does so as the framed picture is over my wife's  bed table lamp.

In praise of the mundane bodyscape

Madeleine Morris under a boom

A boom - from simplicity to complexity and back again



     

Previous Posts
Moths Fluttering At My Kitchen Window Part II

The Genesis Of The Christmas Eve Family Portrait

The Acoustics Of Christmas Eve Music

As By Enchantment

An Oboe D'Amore, A Natural Horn, A Traverso & A Pa...

José María & María José

A Christmas Card Today From Many Christmases Past

That Tactile Experience

Objective Subjectivity - Mathew Brady - U.S. Grant...

Making Blogs Sexy



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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

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17