That Egg ChairThursday, May 08, 2014
The egg chair lies forlorn in our basement. I haven’t been able to find a place for it since we moved from our house in Burnaby in 1986. We originally had it in our Arboledas, Estado de México home. Ceilings in our house there were of concrete so you could hang it anywhere if you had a proper drill.
Our present home has vaulted ceilings and I never had the gumption to poke a hole to find some beam I could hang the chair from.
In Burnaby sometime around 1979 or 1989 I photographed one of the most elegant women I have ever met. She was a jazz dancer who appeared in most of the variety shows that were so popular at the time at our local CBC. I think I first met her for my first show as a stills man, the Wolfman Jack Show. ViktoriaLangton had legs that rivaled my mother’s and a face with cheekbones that resembled a Cinemascope screen. Add to that a distinguished South African accent and you had real glamour.
When I photographed her in my low ceiling Burnaby basement (the garage) I screwed a hook to the ceiling and hung the egg chair.
|Alexandra, 7. the egg chair was on the right of frame|
One of the reasons for today’s blog besides showing you the egg chair (which I painted with white automobile lacquer) is that I find it interesting to see the development of my portrait technique. In both these pictures I was not good with Langton’s hands. After repeated criticism from my Rosemary through the years, I would never show an ungraceful hand or crop out fingers.
|Viktoria Langton, 1979, Pentax Spotmatic-F|
What I do notice is a consistency of approach. I don’t like to put all my photographic eggs in one basket. It was anathema in my years as a magazine photographer to return to the assigning art director and say, “I did not load my camera properly,” or “The flash sync was off,” or I forgot to load my camera with film,” and the many other tricks of the trade that often conspired to prevent me from taking one useable image. Early on I learned to have backup equipment handy. And, very important I would use more than one camera.
In one of the photographs here I used a Mamiya RB-67 with a 65mm wide angle lens (the only lens I had for that camera at that time) loaded with a very fine grain b+w film, Ilford Pan F which I believe I rated at 50 ISO. For the second shot I used a Pentax Spotmatic F, a 35mm lens and Kodak Technical Pan which I also rated at 50 ISO.
More now than ever, I like the multiple camera approach. A digital camera may provide you with b+w, colour, low contrast and high contrast on the same picture, but these variations will still be from only one photograph. Here you see two similar photographs that I believe are substantially different.
And as I look at the early pictures of our egg chair in Arboledas I can remember sitting in it and listening to Carole King, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Rod Stewart and Gerry Mulligan. Now minus that egg chair I still listen to Gerry Mulligan.