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




 

As Good As Your Last
Saturday, February 23, 2013


Lauren Elizabeth Stewart, February 23, 2013



It was not too long ago, perhaps just two years when I faced a class of contemporary youngish students at a local photography school. Most of the students, with the exception of a few, routinely ate hamburgers, checked their e-mails and worked on their homework assignments for other classes in my class. I had been informed by the school that students were allowed to eat in class because they had busy schedules.

In my past as a high school teacher I had attempted to keep a distance from my students by calling them “Mr….or Miss….” In this 21st century teachers had to be buddies, or at least to make an effort.

Because the school’s steep tuition students were given laptops. All laptops were in open position in class. I had no real authority to tell them to put them away. While lecturing I might walk down the aisles and that is when I noticed how many of my students were onto extracurricular activities on the order of facebook or some other social network.

I have memory of one particular day when one of my students, a very intelligent English one asked me a pointed question in a most brutal manner, “Mr. Hayward can you show us photographs of yours that have appeared in magazines that are still in existence?” My only possible retort, one that I kept silently was, “Most of the photographs of people in magazines that no longer exist are all dead.”

In another school a student, not English, told me, “Mr. Hayward, I have been hired as a summer student at a magazine. It is the magazine that no longer gives you work.”

One of the schools has closed their doors and the other one through a spokesman told me, “We feel that our school and you are not a good fit. Therefore we do not want you back.”

It is after reflection of such moments where logic, this kind of logic, “Either I am crazy or they are crazy,” does not bring relief or comfort.

It is after these moments that one, me, will look into a mirror and think, “Am I still useful?”

The ancient custom, that relationship between the so-called expert (be it an artist or an automobile mechanic) and an apprentice does not seem to apply. I have stuff lodged in my head that I believe is useful. And I believe that this stuff will die with me. I do not loose sleep over this fact.

I keep my sanity and sense of self-worth knowing that after so many years of being a photographer I can tell when I am looking at one. I can also assert, that even if I am unable to escape from being totally objective, I can tell when a picture I take is a good one.

On Tuesday, February 26, I will be lecturing a photography class in a South Burnaby Secondary school. The crux of my lecture will be that a photographer is only as good as his last photograph. Any photographer that is using the epithet “award winning photographer - took pictures for the National Enquirer” is stuck in the past and out to lunch.

You can only be as good as you are now.

So here is my last picture, unless I take a few more before my February 26 date with, I hope, respectful students.

My granddaughter Lauren, 10, came over today Saturday. She is at that stage where she is tired of seeing me grab my large tripod. She knows what is coming. I tell her, “Perhaps some day I  will interest you in photography and I could teach you.” Her answer is brutal, “Not a chance.” I try another tack, "I take pleasant photographs of you and I post them immediately in my blog.” She says back, “I take the best pictures of myself. And I use my digital camera. It is quick not like yours.”

But she does consent to pose for me for a few minutes. I know that setting up my lights is out of the question. So I put my Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD and a 140mm lens on the tripod and load the back with Fuji b+w instant FP-3000B film and take a few (three) snaps of her. The best one of the lot seems to be the first one. When I first looked at it, I noticed that one of her cheeks made her look fat. This was so when I turned the photograph from the horizontal position that I took it to a vertical one.




For those who might not know this, pictures should be seen as they were taken. A case in point is to photograph a beautiful blonde, on a divan, with her head bent over the edge. The picture is taken with her face upside down. If you turn it around it will look odd. That’s just the way it is!

And as for the second  picture above I would tell that English student. here is picture of mine in a magazine, the March 2013 issue that is still in business.




Friday, February 22, 2013



Hugo Marston is a tall Texan who wears cowboy boots while buying first editions from Paris Bouquinistes (Goggle it) in Paris. Marston is head of security at the US Embassy there. He gets into hot water with nasty Rumanians, former Nazi collaborators and makes love to the daughter of a count. He has a friend, Tom who is a loose cannon with a gun.

I found all the above in one thrilling package, The Bookseller that came to me via the New Books Section of the Main Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. I read it in two evenings four weeks ago.

I was curious about the author as I wondered why a brand new book published in 2012 would proclaim on its cover The First Hugo Marsten Novel. It reminded me of Spanish writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte who in his first 1996 terrific swashbuckler (in Spanish but available in an English translation) El Capitán Alatriste advised us in the interior book jacket sleeve that the next five to come were Limpieza de Sangre, El Sol de Breda, Misión en París, El Oro del Rey and La Venganza de Alquézar.

Misión en París and La Venganza de Alquézar never saw the light of day but in the end Pérez-Reverte has written seven in all in the series. I wonder if Mark Pryor has the same Dumas-like ambition. If he does I know that we readers will be amply rewarded.

I was curious about any author who would place a Texan in Paris. Having lived in Texas I know the man would stick out like a sore thumb leafing through old books on the banks of the Seine.

To my surprise Mark Pryor is from Hertfordshire. What made me more curious was to find out that the married and two-child author happened to live in Austin. I checked his website and it was there that I discovered that Pryor happens to be assistant district attorney to Travis County (the Austin area county)!


I emailed Pryor and on the morning after my arrival in Austin, Texas to my reunion at St Edward’s I met up with him at the front door of the 19th century neo-Gothic Old Main.

Pryor’s mother was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since he has a twin citizenship that explains how the journalist (correspondent in Rumania during the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu) can also be an assistant district attorney.

Before I snapped my pictures of Pryor, he asked me if he could return to his car to bring a hat and coat that Hugo Marsten might just wear.

I thought that was a grand idea. Pryor's next Hugo Marsten novel is due this May.




An Alma Mater Of Ghosts
Thursday, February 21, 2013





February 15, 2013



From Thursday February the 14th in the evening to Monday, February the 18th I was in Austin, Texas at my high school Alma Mater (Latin for nourishing mother), St. Edward’s High School, which ceased to exist around 1967 to accommodate the ever increasing in size St. Edward’s University. But this university is still small enough to be one of the best 20 small institutions in the United States according to U.S. World Report Magazine.

Still big is the old 19th century neo-Gothic building that we all call the Old Main. It was here that between 1957 and the beginning of 1961 I lived, slept, ate, played and studied. Old Main never seems smaller. Perhaps as I stoop in old age it seems to grow bigger and taller.

As soon as I had put my suitcase in my room (216) in St. Joseph Hall that houses mostly the retired (but some active) Brothers and two Fathers of Holy Cross, I walked out into the evening up to Old Main. I am not quite sure on his or her sex. Is he or she a nourishing mother? I feel contentment, nostalgia and peace when I walk around it. It is surrounded by great Garry oaks, Quercus garryana, and its red roof is visible as red even at night as there are lights that emphasize the imposing structure.

On my last day before my friend and former classmate John Arnold arrived to take me to the airport I had to make one last pedestrian “circumnavigation” of Old Main, a sort of drink of water for the road.

Between that first glimpse on Thursday evening and the last on Monday noon I spent many hours talking to Brothers and Priests of Holy Cross. I attended daily Mass, and had breakfast and other meals. In some cases our sobremesa (a beautiful Spanish word for table conversation) lingered for two hours.

Walking one time with Father Michael Sarker, CSC (the Bangladeshi I have nicknamed the Happy Priest) as we approached Old Main I stopped. I told him that any minute I would be walking through my ghost of 1958 or 59, 60 00r 61. Father Michael is a fan of the Holy Ghost so he took me seriously, as he should.

My friend Mexican poet and novelist Homero Aridjis likes to frequent the old zócalo or main square of Mexico City. He walks a street between the Catedral Metropolitana and some very old buildings that lead to ruins of the old Aztec Templo Mayor. He says he can feel the presence of Aztec priests, Spanish soldiers, and members of the army of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. The latter hordes of the Mexican Revolution lingered outside while Villa and Zapata tried the presidential chair up in the main government palace and decided not to take advantage of the circumstances to keep it. They went off with their army.


Like Aridjis I believe in the presence of old spirits, myself, my former classmates, Brothers and priests.

The feeling is much like the beginning of that fine 1949 WW-II war film Twelve O’clock High with Gregory Peck. Dean Jagger, as Major Harvey Stovall returns after the war to the small town where during the war he was part of an American squadron of B-17s that participated in the first of the brutal daylight bombing raids over Germany. In a bicycle he arrives at what seems to be a field in the country until he stands on a concrete landing field almost covered by weeds. Jagger soon hears sounds, and the vegetation seems to not to be windblown as much as reacting to the roars of the B-17s landing, all shot up.

This same feeling fills me as I walk Old Main. The Happy Priest became very serious. He will have to wait a couple of years, return to Bangladesh to then come back to feel what I feel.

The sensing of ghosts is even more intense as I walk up the stairs (by the back way you enter in the ground floor basement) so that you climb up three floors. Most don’t take the stairs as an elevator has been installed. On the second floor the elevator shaft passes where my 11th grade room (four of us slept and studied in it) was. Going up the stairs is lonely and quiet, unlike in my youth when we ran up and down, between classes, shouting while avoiding Brother Francis Solano Barrett, CSC who would grab us by the neck to stop us.

In the silence of walking up I can hear all those voices. The silence seems to make my hearing that much more acute. I can hear the bell telling us we must drag ourselves out of our bunk beds or the bell that signaled lights out.

There is a smell as I walk up (I puff a bit, the stairs are long and steep) that I think it is an amalgamation of old books and students with a whiff of unwashed bodies after a game of touch football.

On another day, at the Golden Guard Luncheon (for those who graduated from the high school or the university in 1963) a chorus sings:

Forever SEU – St. Edward’s University
Words and music by Brother Edwin Reggio, CSC


Atop the hill our Alma Mater
Symbol to all
Of truth and wisdom, faith and honor,
Proudly, she stands tall.
St. Edward’s blue and gold
Gaze and behold…
Our Alma Mater, hail to thee
Forever S.E.U.

I cry. This is the first occasion in memory that the author of the song is not present. He is room-bound at St. Joseph, waiting for papers that will take him to special facilities in South Bend, Indiana where he will receive 24 hour care. Months back while walking by Old Main, at certain precise hours of the day, you would have spotted  Brother Edwin making his rounds.

The next time I visit Old Main I will have to settle for the presence of his ghost. And I will hear him say, “Gosh.”




An Angel By The Barber Chair
Wednesday, February 20, 2013




St. Joseph Hall, February 15, 2013
Getting a haircut is as inevitable a necessity, an unpleasant one, as going to the dentist. I believe I can live with very long hair and dispense with the barber but I am not sure I could live with an eternal toothache.

Both a dentist and a barber attempt to make it known that their service is so important to your well being. If there is one thing that barbers and dentists have in common is that they not only want to make you look good in the coffin but they also tell you about it. With your mouth open and with sharp instruments in your mouth or a pair of Solingens by your ear there is never recourse for a rebuttal to their pronouncements.

My first barber, one that I can remember was a Calabrian called Antonio who lived around the corner from our house on Melián in Buenos Aires. He talked to me in his accented Spanish and always gave me ugly, long balloons which I had to stretch for long minutes before I could inflate them. They were opaque and had coloured spots. The gift balloon never seemed to compensate for the ignominy of sitting down to get my hair cut.

By the time I was 14 I had had an operation on a large mole on the back of my right ear. Short haircuts showed a huge scar. People asked. I could have told them that the mole looked like a black jellyfish as I had been shown it in a jar by my surgeon. The mole was benign but the scar wasn’t. So the story I told was that I had been pushed through a plate glass door. Invariably the barber would ask. It was then that I began to define a good barber as one that was mute. But such a creature, as close to an angel as a human could ever be, was not to show his presence in my life until most recently.

The next barber of note was Angel, one only in name, a young man who cut my hair at Arsenal Buenos Aires, in the very room where Kapitän zur See Hans Langsdorff shot himself with a Luger on December 20, 1939. I believe this story is apocryphal as the Captain of the Graf Spee surely must have shot himself in a hotel room in Montevideo. I was a raw Argentine Naval draftee. He seriously asked me how I wanted him to cut my hair. I faced a mirror and gave him instructions. In a few rapid movements Angel had given me a “corte cero” Spanish for an extreme crew cut.

Richard Bond, he of the long hair and almost longer fingernails, I met in Wreck Beach in the late 70s. He liked to talk and only cut hair in the evenings. He tried to convince me to give up on food and live off morning fruit blends chock full of natural vitamins and protein powder.

Perhaps the only reason Bond cut my hair was my photographic (nothing more) attraction to his beautiful girl friend Lorian who became my subject for my early taste for nudes. When Lorien left Bond for a painter who had put an ad in a Victoria paper looking for a model with large breasts I decided to switch to Nancy G, she who cut hair for Vancouver’s finest alternative scene rockers of the punk kind.

Nancy G was very beautiful and slightly cross-eyed which made her strangely even more beautiful. But she had a problem with moving locations of business regularly to places further and further away. Sometimes when I would call for an appointment she would reply, “I really don’t feel like cutting your hair this week. How about next week?”

My Rosemary suggested, “Now that we live in Kerrisdale why don’t you go to Richard Jeha. Our former mayor, Art Phillips goes to him. If he is good enough for the mayor he should be good enough for you." And so it was that I have had very good haircuts all these years while listening to talk and more talk. Perhaps I might put an ad in the paper, “Wanted – A speech impaired barber.”



Three weeks ago I found out that my last living surrogate father/mentor, Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. was ailing at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. Twice before in the last few years he had marched me to the barber chair at St. Joseph Hall where I was lucky to stay for a few days in my almost yearly school reunions.

Brother Edwin is the perfect barber. He says nothing and cuts your hair with rapid efficiency perhaps with an ever so brutal approach that had my friends ask me, “Where did you get that cut?”

Brother Edwin was ailing so I sent him an email that I would be seeing him in a few weeks. I asked him if I should get a haircut before flying to Austin. He never replied.

I did not have Richard cut my hair hoping that my unruly long hair would propel Brother Edwin from his decline to say, as he did once, “You seemed to not have had a cut since the last time I gave you one. Let’s go.”

And so I did face Brother Edwin and he did not notice my long hair and did not offer to cut it. I went into the barber chair room and longingly looked around. I knew that the silent barber would not cut anybody’s hair anymore. But I also reflected that I had finally had found an angel, a silent barber who did cut my hair twice and I feel comforted by that lucky stroke of luck. Or was it a miracle?




Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, C.S.C. - Mentor & Teacher
Tuesday, February 19, 2013


My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, C.S.C. - Mentor & Teacher



February 17, 2013




A personal, but random, glimpse into the life of Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, C.S.C.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:40 AM

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the book. My health is not too good right now. I'm having problems focusing on things. Look forward to seeing you soon.

Bro. Edwin



"What is the difference between a cornet and a trumpet in a marching and jazz band? A cornet blends better with a B Flat clarinet."



Brother Edwin will you say, “gosh” for me?
“That’s going to take some time.”
February 15, 2013 at breakfast in St. Joseph Hall.



Brother Edwin entered our religion class in 1958 and asked the class while pouring water to the brim of a small glass and also that of a big glass, “Which is fuller?” The class answered predictably. Brother Edwin gently corrected us, “Both are equally full as I can not pour more water into either of them without overflowing them. But the bigger glass has more capacity. You need more water to fill it. The small glass can be easily filled. We can say the same about happiness. Some of us can be happy with little others with more. It is more difficult to be happy if you want more. A small happy person and a more-happy person are both equally happy.”



Standing next to Brother Edwin facing the sun on the barbecue deck of St. Joseph Hall, I asked him, “Are we making an imitation of the Great Egyptian Sphinx?”

“We are,” he answered.
February 17, 2013



Edwin is not doing well. Besides his normal illnesses, he has been diagnosed with having a rare infection in the brain that is causing him to lose some memory processing functions. He is not in any pain, but has trouble remembering and organizing his thoughts. Even though he is distressed at not being able to make the trains run on time, he is in fairly good spirits. We look forward to your arrival next Thursday.

Br. Bill



Sometime in 1959 I was stopped by Brother Edwin while waking between the Old Main and Holy Cross Hall. “I need a sax player for the school band. You are going to learn to play one. ”

“No, I don’t even know how to read music.”
“I will teach you.”
Gregory Sweeny, HS Class of 1963 learned to play the sax in the same manner.



“Why is the Easter Bunny the Easter Bunny,” Brother Edwin asked his religion class one day in 1959.

“If you are driving at night in the country your headlights might spot a hare. The hare will stop and stare and then scurry away and appear suddenly somewhere else. You shine your headlights on him and he will disappear and then appear somewhere else. In the same way, Jesus, after the Resurrection appeared to his disciples here and there. Thomas the Apostle had his doubts. The hare represents a Christ Risen.”



Back in 1958 at St. Ed’s we were young and our teachers were old men. At least that is what I thought. In 2008 I contacted Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. via email (after all those years had passed) and I asked him how he was. His answer was precise and direct. He almost seemed insulted, “I feel just fine. I am not much older than you are.” That’s when it hit me that at age 16 our religion teacher was a young man of 26!


That 2008 I traveled with my wife Rosemary and granddaughter Rebecca (9 at the time) to Yucatán. When my wife noticed that our plane stopped in Houston she suggested we visit Austin and Brother Edwin. I could have never imagined back in 1958 that some day my granddaughter would meet and have a chat with Brother Edwin.

On our way to eat at the County Line (in a large Lincoln driven by Howard Houston, class of 1961, and his wife Lynne) Rebecca asked Brother Edwin, “How can it be that you and my grandfather can be friends?”

Brother Edwin explained to her that when I had been 16 and he 26 the quotient was 0.6. If we jumped to 36 for me and 46 for him the quotient was 0.78 and then at 2008 that quotient was 0.86. I really did not have a clue what Brother Edwin was saying but my Rebecca seemed to understand and she smiled. She had grasped that as Brother Edwin and I became older (and that quotient approached 1) our age difference was smaller and smaller and that explained that we now had lots in common and we could be friends! And without knowing, but I will tell her one day, Brother Edwin gave my granddaughter a first glimpse into the infinitesimal and calculus, a course of study which Brother Edwin taught.



“How tall are you, Brother Edwin?” I asked him as we stood before the sun in our Great Egyptian Sphinx imitation.

“I am five foot three.”

I don’t think that Brother Edwin is any taller than five foot one. Could he have been pulling my leg or even telling me a fib ?
February 17, 2013



My granddaughter Rebecca asked Brother Edwin in 2008 how he came to be a Brother of Holy Cross.

I was dating an admiral’s daughter, [the admiral must have been greatly impressed by that most intelligent man who was studying for two degrees, one in mathematics and the other in music] and he offered me the chance to be a cadet in Annapolis. He had connections and the minimum height would be waived. But I decided at about that time that I wanted to pursue a religious life.



In 1959 Byron Todd, a portly classmate of mine, was talking and misbehaving in religion. Brother Edwin went up to him and with his left hand lifted him up from the floor and shoved him against the wall. He then told him, quite firmly, “You be quiet.” Sometime later he did the same with another classmate, Richard Mosby. In 2008 I finally dared ask him how he had managed to do that while noting that he had unusually muscular arms and forearms. “My father, my brother and I practiced the sport of Olympic rings.”



“Brother Edwin, are you going to say ‘gosh’ for me?”

“You are going to have to wait.”
February 16, 2013



The Congregation of Holy Cross has a separate little corner in The Assumption, the Catholic cemetery, which is very near St. Edward’s. There are some nuns and priests buried there but the bulk of the graves are brothers.

I asked Brother Edwin where he was going to be buried. His answer had all to do and depending when he died. It could be in one corner or another. If someone preceded him that corner would be taken.
June, 2009



One day in 2011 I followed Brother Edwin in his rounds of the day at his office, going to pick up mail at the post office, dealing with the financial dealings of the Brothers in the in-university bank, feeding the squirrels in St. Joseph Hall, putting mail into the Brothers’ cubbyholes, etc. I was struck that his routine could have been measured with a stopwatch. I told Brother Edwin, “You remind me of Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days.” His reply was, “He made a mistake.”


Brother Edwin, are you going to say ‘gosh’ for me?”

“You are going to have to wait.”
February 17, 2013



At lunch at St. Joseph Hall. I said to the Brothers at our table, “Brother Edwin has a sweet tooth and one day he said I should try frozen Snickers Bars. I find it difficult to accept that I cannot find them in Canada."

Brother Edwin reacted to my comment, “I don’t remember.”
February 18, 2013



In 2011 I was having lunch with Brother Edwin at St. Joseph Hall. I had just arrived. "Alex, you seemed to not had a haircut since the last one I gave you last year. Stand up and let's take care of it."



“Brother Edwin, do you remember my granddaughter Rebecca? She is now a 15-year-old teenager from hell.”

“Of course I remember her. Don’t do anything. The more your force her, the more she will go in the opposite direction.”
February 18, 2013



"Will you say “gosh” for me?”

“I can if you want but it does not mean anything to me, I can’t compute.”
February 18, 2013


Brother Edwin will shortly be moved to Holy Cross’s Dujarie House in South Bend, Indiana where he will have expert and 24/7 care. We must pray for his speedy recovery.


“Brother Edwin, will you miss Texas?”

“To miss Texas I will first have to remember it.”
February 18, 2013

Brother Edwin is going to be 81 on March 29

Veronica Vex Burlesque Dancer
George McWhirter Poet
Raúl Guerrero Montemayor Padre-Compadre
Alexandra Waterhouse-Hayward Maestra
Shirley Gnome Singer/Provocateur
Yeva & Thoenn Glover Dancers/Choreographers
JJ Lee Writer
Jacqueline Model
Cathy Marsden Psychiatrist
André De Mondo Wanderer
Colin MacDonald Saxophonist/Composer
Nina Gouveia Yoga Instructor
Stacey Hutton Excercise Physiologist
Colleen Wheeler Actor
Sarah Rodgers Actor, Director,Mother
Kiera Hill Dancer
Johnna Wright & Sascha Director/Mother - Son/Dreamer
Decker & Nick Hunt Cat & 19th century amateur
George Bowering Poet
Celia Duthie Gallerist
Linda Lorenzo Mother
Katheryn Petersen Accordionist
Stefanie Denz Artist
Ivette Hernández Actress
Byron Chief-Moon Actor/Dancer
Colin Horricks Doctor
Ian Mulgrew Vancouver Sun Columnist
Jocelyn Morlock Composer
Corinne McConchie Librarian
Rachel Ditor Dramaturg
Patrick Reid Statesman, Flag Designer
Michael Varga CBC Cameraman
Bronwen Marsden Playwright/Actress/Director
David Baines Vancouver Sun Columnist
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward Photographer
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart Student
Sandrine Cassini Dancer/Choreographer
Meredith Kalaman Dancer/Choreographer
Juliya Kate Dominatrix



Furs, Futral, Freedman, Fuller & Erbe
Monday, February 18, 2013



Kathryn Erbe, Sun Room, October 1992 


My eldest daughter Alexandra when she still lived with us, which was at least 21 years ago, started my basement filing system. To this day I can see the difference between her neat printing on the file labels and my terrible attempt at legibility.



Such is the size of my files that there is stuff there that I cannot find unless I know the name or the incident. While returning some files today I was in section Erbe, Katheryn - F to Fs and I found this curious connection of Fs: Freedman, Fuller, Furs and Futral. Adele Freedman wrote about architecture for the Globe & Mail for many years. Janice Fuller and her Little Sisters Bookstore fought Canada Customs for years in order to import gay/lesbian related literature. Elizabeth Futral is an American soprano that I photographed twice for two roles. One was for Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and the other for his Daughter of the Regiment. In the latter opera a French regiment adopts a little tom girl who before they (the soldiers) know it grows up to be a gorgeous girl. I tried to convey her double roll by taking pictures of her as the young soldier and as the woman. I put the pictures into a Pugwash, Nova Scotia pewter frame and scanned them with some of my grandmother’s sheet music on top.

As for Erbe, Katheryn she is an actress. I recognize the location as the Sun Room of the Vancouver Hotel. The fur pictures escape my memory completely. I had no idea I had ever taken anything like them.


Janine Fuller at Little Sisters, October 1994



Adele Freedman, November 1995







Elizabeth Futral, November 2002
 

   
 

   

October 2000






A Prunish Don Harron
Sunday, February 17, 2013


Don Harron

Whenever I lecture on photography I always tell my audience or my students that it is the obligation of the portrait photographer to make his subject look as good as or better if all is possible. I can safely say that while some of my portraits have not always shown my subjects in the best light the results were due to my inexperience or some technical failure.

Only once, once in my life as a portrait photographer did I take pictures with the intention of making my subject look worse. Not only that I gave my subject advance warning of the fact.

From 1977 to 1982 I was almost a daily listener of Don Harron’s radio show, Morningside, on CBC Radio. I always thought that those who followed after, in particular Peter Gzwoski neither had the voice nor the class and elegance of Harron. Harron was my friend in the darkroom when I was struggling in my almost daily attempts to teach myself how to print colour negatives. The tedium of going upstairs from my Burnaby basement home darkroom into outside daylight to check the colour on the face (in particular I remember a red haired stewardess I had photographed) to find that the colour was too cyan, or too yellow, or too green was only ameliorated by the sheer pleasure of Harron’s voice.

Sometime around 1983 or 1984 Vancouver Magazine writer Les Wiseman had an afternoon appointment with Harron at his Vancouver hotel, the Denman Inn. We arrived a bit early. Harron was in town to promote a book. As we waited in the lobby for our appointment hour I noticed Harron stepping out of the elevator. I went up to him to tell him that at about that time he was to see us. He denied this vehemently almost aggressively. He told me that someone had double-booked him. Then he looked at me and with a sheepish smile he said, “I was a journalist once. I understand. Let’s go upstairs.”




Wiseman interviewed him. Harron became most excited in telling us that he had once been discovered back stage by Katherine Hepburn who had told him what a good actor he was. Harron then gave us a brutal description of Hepburn’s skin. “The skin of her face was like a prune.”

When Harron indicated he was ready for his portrait (I had in advance set up my medium format camera and a light) he smiled at me and perhaps in an attempt to break the ice he said, “Guess who is going to take my portrait tomorrow?” I could not guess. “It is going to be Karsh of Ottawa.”

I felt insulted in that he was showing off to purposely make me feel insignificant. I went for the jugular. “Mr. Harron, one of Karsh’s secrets is his use of the green filter for his portraits of men. It gives them more character and makes them look older. The filter is like this one. I am going to use it on you and your skin is going to look like Hepburn’s.”




     

Previous Posts
Lee Lytton III & Friendly & Warm Ghosts

San Valentín

From Simple To Complex

Leaning Towards Irrelevancy

Nevertheless She Persisted - For Allan Morgan - My...

El Reloj de Arena - The Hour Glass - Jorge Luís Bo...

An Officer and a Gentleman & An Anniversary

el ayelmado tripolio que ademenos es de satén rosa...

For Susanne Tabata's Media Class At the Art Instit...

Linda Melsted - The Music in the Violin does not e...



Archives
1/15/06 - 1/22/06

1/22/06 - 1/29/06

1/29/06 - 2/5/06

2/5/06 - 2/12/06

2/12/06 - 2/19/06

2/19/06 - 2/26/06

2/26/06 - 3/5/06

3/5/06 - 3/12/06

3/12/06 - 3/19/06

3/19/06 - 3/26/06

3/26/06 - 4/2/06

4/2/06 - 4/9/06

4/9/06 - 4/16/06

4/16/06 - 4/23/06

4/23/06 - 4/30/06

4/30/06 - 5/7/06

5/7/06 - 5/14/06

5/14/06 - 5/21/06

5/21/06 - 5/28/06

5/28/06 - 6/4/06

6/4/06 - 6/11/06

6/11/06 - 6/18/06

6/18/06 - 6/25/06

6/25/06 - 7/2/06

7/2/06 - 7/9/06

7/9/06 - 7/16/06

7/16/06 - 7/23/06

7/23/06 - 7/30/06

7/30/06 - 8/6/06

8/6/06 - 8/13/06

8/13/06 - 8/20/06

8/20/06 - 8/27/06

8/27/06 - 9/3/06

9/3/06 - 9/10/06

9/10/06 - 9/17/06

9/17/06 - 9/24/06

9/24/06 - 10/1/06

10/1/06 - 10/8/06

10/8/06 - 10/15/06

10/15/06 - 10/22/06

10/22/06 - 10/29/06

10/29/06 - 11/5/06

11/5/06 - 11/12/06

11/12/06 - 11/19/06

11/19/06 - 11/26/06

11/26/06 - 12/3/06

12/3/06 - 12/10/06

12/10/06 - 12/17/06

12/17/06 - 12/24/06

12/24/06 - 12/31/06

12/31/06 - 1/7/07

1/7/07 - 1/14/07

1/14/07 - 1/21/07

1/21/07 - 1/28/07

1/28/07 - 2/4/07

2/4/07 - 2/11/07

2/11/07 - 2/18/07

2/18/07 - 2/25/07

2/25/07 - 3/4/07

3/4/07 - 3/11/07

3/11/07 - 3/18/07

3/18/07 - 3/25/07

3/25/07 - 4/1/07

4/1/07 - 4/8/07

4/8/07 - 4/15/07

4/15/07 - 4/22/07

4/22/07 - 4/29/07

4/29/07 - 5/6/07

5/6/07 - 5/13/07

5/13/07 - 5/20/07

5/20/07 - 5/27/07

5/27/07 - 6/3/07

6/3/07 - 6/10/07

6/10/07 - 6/17/07

6/17/07 - 6/24/07

6/24/07 - 7/1/07

7/1/07 - 7/8/07

7/8/07 - 7/15/07

7/15/07 - 7/22/07

7/22/07 - 7/29/07

7/29/07 - 8/5/07

8/5/07 - 8/12/07

8/12/07 - 8/19/07

8/19/07 - 8/26/07

8/26/07 - 9/2/07

9/2/07 - 9/9/07

9/9/07 - 9/16/07

9/16/07 - 9/23/07

9/23/07 - 9/30/07

9/30/07 - 10/7/07

10/7/07 - 10/14/07

10/14/07 - 10/21/07

10/21/07 - 10/28/07

10/28/07 - 11/4/07

11/4/07 - 11/11/07

11/11/07 - 11/18/07

11/18/07 - 11/25/07

11/25/07 - 12/2/07

12/2/07 - 12/9/07

12/9/07 - 12/16/07

12/16/07 - 12/23/07

12/23/07 - 12/30/07

12/30/07 - 1/6/08

1/6/08 - 1/13/08

1/13/08 - 1/20/08

1/20/08 - 1/27/08

1/27/08 - 2/3/08

2/3/08 - 2/10/08

2/10/08 - 2/17/08

2/17/08 - 2/24/08

2/24/08 - 3/2/08

3/2/08 - 3/9/08

3/9/08 - 3/16/08

3/16/08 - 3/23/08

3/23/08 - 3/30/08

3/30/08 - 4/6/08

4/6/08 - 4/13/08

4/13/08 - 4/20/08

4/20/08 - 4/27/08

4/27/08 - 5/4/08

5/4/08 - 5/11/08

5/11/08 - 5/18/08

5/18/08 - 5/25/08

5/25/08 - 6/1/08

6/1/08 - 6/8/08

6/8/08 - 6/15/08

6/15/08 - 6/22/08

6/22/08 - 6/29/08

6/29/08 - 7/6/08

7/6/08 - 7/13/08

7/13/08 - 7/20/08

7/20/08 - 7/27/08

7/27/08 - 8/3/08

8/3/08 - 8/10/08

8/10/08 - 8/17/08

8/17/08 - 8/24/08

8/24/08 - 8/31/08

8/31/08 - 9/7/08

9/7/08 - 9/14/08

9/14/08 - 9/21/08

9/21/08 - 9/28/08

9/28/08 - 10/5/08

10/5/08 - 10/12/08

10/12/08 - 10/19/08

10/19/08 - 10/26/08

10/26/08 - 11/2/08

11/2/08 - 11/9/08

11/9/08 - 11/16/08

11/16/08 - 11/23/08

11/23/08 - 11/30/08

11/30/08 - 12/7/08

12/7/08 - 12/14/08

12/14/08 - 12/21/08

12/21/08 - 12/28/08

12/28/08 - 1/4/09

1/4/09 - 1/11/09

1/11/09 - 1/18/09

1/18/09 - 1/25/09

1/25/09 - 2/1/09

2/1/09 - 2/8/09

2/8/09 - 2/15/09

2/15/09 - 2/22/09

2/22/09 - 3/1/09

3/1/09 - 3/8/09

3/8/09 - 3/15/09

3/15/09 - 3/22/09

3/22/09 - 3/29/09

3/29/09 - 4/5/09

4/5/09 - 4/12/09

4/12/09 - 4/19/09

4/19/09 - 4/26/09

4/26/09 - 5/3/09

5/3/09 - 5/10/09

5/10/09 - 5/17/09

5/17/09 - 5/24/09

5/24/09 - 5/31/09

5/31/09 - 6/7/09

6/7/09 - 6/14/09

6/14/09 - 6/21/09

6/21/09 - 6/28/09

6/28/09 - 7/5/09

7/5/09 - 7/12/09

7/12/09 - 7/19/09

7/19/09 - 7/26/09

7/26/09 - 8/2/09

8/2/09 - 8/9/09

8/9/09 - 8/16/09

8/16/09 - 8/23/09

8/23/09 - 8/30/09

8/30/09 - 9/6/09

9/6/09 - 9/13/09

9/13/09 - 9/20/09

9/20/09 - 9/27/09

9/27/09 - 10/4/09

10/4/09 - 10/11/09

10/11/09 - 10/18/09

10/18/09 - 10/25/09

10/25/09 - 11/1/09

11/1/09 - 11/8/09

11/8/09 - 11/15/09

11/15/09 - 11/22/09

11/22/09 - 11/29/09

11/29/09 - 12/6/09

12/6/09 - 12/13/09

12/13/09 - 12/20/09

12/20/09 - 12/27/09

12/27/09 - 1/3/10

1/3/10 - 1/10/10

1/10/10 - 1/17/10

1/17/10 - 1/24/10

1/24/10 - 1/31/10

1/31/10 - 2/7/10

2/7/10 - 2/14/10

2/14/10 - 2/21/10

2/21/10 - 2/28/10

2/28/10 - 3/7/10

3/7/10 - 3/14/10

3/14/10 - 3/21/10

3/21/10 - 3/28/10

3/28/10 - 4/4/10

4/4/10 - 4/11/10

4/11/10 - 4/18/10

4/18/10 - 4/25/10

4/25/10 - 5/2/10

5/2/10 - 5/9/10

5/9/10 - 5/16/10

5/16/10 - 5/23/10

5/23/10 - 5/30/10

5/30/10 - 6/6/10

6/6/10 - 6/13/10

6/13/10 - 6/20/10

6/20/10 - 6/27/10

6/27/10 - 7/4/10

7/4/10 - 7/11/10

7/11/10 - 7/18/10

7/18/10 - 7/25/10

7/25/10 - 8/1/10

8/1/10 - 8/8/10

8/8/10 - 8/15/10

8/15/10 - 8/22/10

8/22/10 - 8/29/10

8/29/10 - 9/5/10

9/5/10 - 9/12/10

9/12/10 - 9/19/10

9/19/10 - 9/26/10

9/26/10 - 10/3/10

10/3/10 - 10/10/10

10/10/10 - 10/17/10

10/17/10 - 10/24/10

10/24/10 - 10/31/10

10/31/10 - 11/7/10

11/7/10 - 11/14/10

11/14/10 - 11/21/10

11/21/10 - 11/28/10

11/28/10 - 12/5/10

12/5/10 - 12/12/10

12/12/10 - 12/19/10

12/19/10 - 12/26/10

12/26/10 - 1/2/11

1/2/11 - 1/9/11

1/9/11 - 1/16/11

1/16/11 - 1/23/11

1/23/11 - 1/30/11

1/30/11 - 2/6/11

2/6/11 - 2/13/11

2/13/11 - 2/20/11

2/20/11 - 2/27/11

2/27/11 - 3/6/11

3/6/11 - 3/13/11

3/13/11 - 3/20/11

3/20/11 - 3/27/11

3/27/11 - 4/3/11

4/3/11 - 4/10/11

4/10/11 - 4/17/11

4/17/11 - 4/24/11

4/24/11 - 5/1/11

5/1/11 - 5/8/11

5/8/11 - 5/15/11

5/15/11 - 5/22/11

5/22/11 - 5/29/11

5/29/11 - 6/5/11

6/5/11 - 6/12/11

6/12/11 - 6/19/11

6/19/11 - 6/26/11

6/26/11 - 7/3/11

7/3/11 - 7/10/11

7/10/11 - 7/17/11

7/17/11 - 7/24/11

7/24/11 - 7/31/11

7/31/11 - 8/7/11

8/7/11 - 8/14/11

8/14/11 - 8/21/11

8/21/11 - 8/28/11

8/28/11 - 9/4/11

9/4/11 - 9/11/11

9/11/11 - 9/18/11

9/18/11 - 9/25/11

9/25/11 - 10/2/11

10/2/11 - 10/9/11

10/9/11 - 10/16/11

10/16/11 - 10/23/11

10/23/11 - 10/30/11

10/30/11 - 11/6/11

11/6/11 - 11/13/11

11/13/11 - 11/20/11

11/20/11 - 11/27/11

11/27/11 - 12/4/11

12/4/11 - 12/11/11

12/11/11 - 12/18/11

12/18/11 - 12/25/11

12/25/11 - 1/1/12

1/1/12 - 1/8/12

1/8/12 - 1/15/12

1/15/12 - 1/22/12

1/22/12 - 1/29/12

1/29/12 - 2/5/12

2/5/12 - 2/12/12

2/12/12 - 2/19/12

2/19/12 - 2/26/12

2/26/12 - 3/4/12

3/4/12 - 3/11/12

3/11/12 - 3/18/12

3/18/12 - 3/25/12

3/25/12 - 4/1/12

4/1/12 - 4/8/12

4/8/12 - 4/15/12

4/15/12 - 4/22/12

4/22/12 - 4/29/12

4/29/12 - 5/6/12

5/6/12 - 5/13/12

5/13/12 - 5/20/12

5/20/12 - 5/27/12

5/27/12 - 6/3/12

6/3/12 - 6/10/12

6/10/12 - 6/17/12

6/17/12 - 6/24/12

6/24/12 - 7/1/12

7/1/12 - 7/8/12

7/8/12 - 7/15/12

7/15/12 - 7/22/12

7/22/12 - 7/29/12

7/29/12 - 8/5/12

8/5/12 - 8/12/12

8/12/12 - 8/19/12

8/19/12 - 8/26/12

8/26/12 - 9/2/12

9/2/12 - 9/9/12

9/9/12 - 9/16/12

9/16/12 - 9/23/12

9/23/12 - 9/30/12

9/30/12 - 10/7/12

10/7/12 - 10/14/12

10/14/12 - 10/21/12

10/21/12 - 10/28/12

10/28/12 - 11/4/12

11/4/12 - 11/11/12

11/11/12 - 11/18/12

11/18/12 - 11/25/12

11/25/12 - 12/2/12

12/2/12 - 12/9/12

12/9/12 - 12/16/12

12/16/12 - 12/23/12

12/23/12 - 12/30/12

12/30/12 - 1/6/13

1/6/13 - 1/13/13

1/13/13 - 1/20/13

1/20/13 - 1/27/13

1/27/13 - 2/3/13

2/3/13 - 2/10/13

2/10/13 - 2/17/13

2/17/13 - 2/24/13

2/24/13 - 3/3/13

3/3/13 - 3/10/13

3/10/13 - 3/17/13

3/17/13 - 3/24/13

3/24/13 - 3/31/13

3/31/13 - 4/7/13

4/7/13 - 4/14/13

4/14/13 - 4/21/13

4/21/13 - 4/28/13

4/28/13 - 5/5/13

5/5/13 - 5/12/13

5/12/13 - 5/19/13

5/19/13 - 5/26/13

5/26/13 - 6/2/13

6/2/13 - 6/9/13

6/9/13 - 6/16/13

6/16/13 - 6/23/13

6/23/13 - 6/30/13

6/30/13 - 7/7/13

7/7/13 - 7/14/13

7/14/13 - 7/21/13

7/21/13 - 7/28/13

7/28/13 - 8/4/13

8/4/13 - 8/11/13

8/11/13 - 8/18/13

8/18/13 - 8/25/13

8/25/13 - 9/1/13

9/1/13 - 9/8/13

9/8/13 - 9/15/13

9/15/13 - 9/22/13

9/22/13 - 9/29/13

9/29/13 - 10/6/13

10/6/13 - 10/13/13

10/13/13 - 10/20/13

10/20/13 - 10/27/13

10/27/13 - 11/3/13

11/3/13 - 11/10/13

11/10/13 - 11/17/13

11/17/13 - 11/24/13

11/24/13 - 12/1/13

12/1/13 - 12/8/13

12/8/13 - 12/15/13

12/15/13 - 12/22/13

12/22/13 - 12/29/13

12/29/13 - 1/5/14

1/5/14 - 1/12/14

1/12/14 - 1/19/14

1/19/14 - 1/26/14

1/26/14 - 2/2/14

2/2/14 - 2/9/14

2/9/14 - 2/16/14

2/16/14 - 2/23/14

2/23/14 - 3/2/14

3/2/14 - 3/9/14

3/9/14 - 3/16/14

3/16/14 - 3/23/14

3/23/14 - 3/30/14

3/30/14 - 4/6/14

4/6/14 - 4/13/14

4/13/14 - 4/20/14

4/20/14 - 4/27/14

4/27/14 - 5/4/14

5/4/14 - 5/11/14

5/11/14 - 5/18/14

5/18/14 - 5/25/14

5/25/14 - 6/1/14

6/1/14 - 6/8/14

6/8/14 - 6/15/14

6/15/14 - 6/22/14

6/22/14 - 6/29/14

6/29/14 - 7/6/14

7/6/14 - 7/13/14

7/13/14 - 7/20/14

7/20/14 - 7/27/14

7/27/14 - 8/3/14

8/3/14 - 8/10/14

8/10/14 - 8/17/14

8/17/14 - 8/24/14

8/24/14 - 8/31/14

8/31/14 - 9/7/14

9/7/14 - 9/14/14

9/14/14 - 9/21/14

9/21/14 - 9/28/14

9/28/14 - 10/5/14

10/5/14 - 10/12/14

10/12/14 - 10/19/14

10/19/14 - 10/26/14

10/26/14 - 11/2/14

11/2/14 - 11/9/14

11/9/14 - 11/16/14

11/16/14 - 11/23/14

11/23/14 - 11/30/14

11/30/14 - 12/7/14

12/7/14 - 12/14/14

12/14/14 - 12/21/14

12/21/14 - 12/28/14

12/28/14 - 1/4/15

1/4/15 - 1/11/15

1/11/15 - 1/18/15

1/18/15 - 1/25/15

1/25/15 - 2/1/15

2/1/15 - 2/8/15

2/8/15 - 2/15/15

2/15/15 - 2/22/15

2/22/15 - 3/1/15

3/1/15 - 3/8/15

3/8/15 - 3/15/15

3/15/15 - 3/22/15

3/22/15 - 3/29/15

3/29/15 - 4/5/15

4/5/15 - 4/12/15

4/12/15 - 4/19/15

4/19/15 - 4/26/15

4/26/15 - 5/3/15

5/3/15 - 5/10/15

5/10/15 - 5/17/15

5/17/15 - 5/24/15

5/24/15 - 5/31/15

5/31/15 - 6/7/15

6/7/15 - 6/14/15

6/14/15 - 6/21/15

6/21/15 - 6/28/15

6/28/15 - 7/5/15

7/5/15 - 7/12/15

7/12/15 - 7/19/15

7/19/15 - 7/26/15

7/26/15 - 8/2/15

8/2/15 - 8/9/15

8/9/15 - 8/16/15

8/16/15 - 8/23/15

8/23/15 - 8/30/15

8/30/15 - 9/6/15

9/6/15 - 9/13/15

9/13/15 - 9/20/15

9/20/15 - 9/27/15

9/27/15 - 10/4/15

10/4/15 - 10/11/15

10/18/15 - 10/25/15

10/25/15 - 11/1/15

11/1/15 - 11/8/15

11/8/15 - 11/15/15

11/15/15 - 11/22/15

11/22/15 - 11/29/15

11/29/15 - 12/6/15

12/6/15 - 12/13/15

12/13/15 - 12/20/15

12/20/15 - 12/27/15

12/27/15 - 1/3/16

1/3/16 - 1/10/16

1/10/16 - 1/17/16

1/31/16 - 2/7/16

2/7/16 - 2/14/16

2/14/16 - 2/21/16

2/21/16 - 2/28/16

2/28/16 - 3/6/16

3/6/16 - 3/13/16

3/13/16 - 3/20/16

3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

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