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




 

Esmero & Dr. Pat Mc Geer
Tuesday, June 03, 2014






In 1986 I was assigned to photograph Social Credit Cabinet Minister Pat McGeer. I knew he was a keen basketball player so I communicated to him that I would take his picture in the UBC Gym court. At the time I never used my 35mm cameras for anything except rock and roll photographs of local alternative scene bands. For anything else I used my heavy 6x7cm medium format Mamiya RB-67. Because magazines like photographs that were not murky I always used flash, and when possible a studio flash.

From what I remember I clamped a large Ascor flash and umbrella to the top of the backboard. I don’t remember exactly how. But you might notice from the picture that the ball and the ring are over-exposed as they were closer to the flash. But McGeer is properly exposed because I metered for him.

As to how I was up there with my heavy camera I have no recollection, but I was. Just in case, for once eschewed my usual Ektachrome transparency film (you had to be bang on) for the more forgiving colour negative, which in this case was Fuji HR100.

The photograph was used in a two-page spread for Vancouver Magazine. One page was a full bleed photograph and on the other page was McGeer’s profile.

I was having a bout of my usual insomnia, in this case not sleeping worrying about unfinished business in the garden as Rosemary and I are opening it for the Vancouver Rose Society on June 7. The though came to my head beginning with the beautiful Spanish word esmero.

esmero.
(De esmerar).
1. m. Sumo cuidado y atención diligente en hacer las cosas con perfección.
Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados


 My translation: Full care and diligent attention in making things with perfection.

The word esmero comes from the verb esmerar.


esmerar.
(Del lat. vulg. *exmerāre, limpiar).
1. tr. Pulir, limpiar, ilustrar.
2. tr. Ar. Reducir un líquido por la evaporación. U. t. c. prnl.
3. prnl. Extremarse, poner sumo cuidado en ser cabal y perfecto.
4. prnl. Obrar con acierto y lucimiento.
Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados


That translates to, in its principal definition, to polish, clean and burnish. What is interesting is that papel esmeril or emery paper does seem to be connected to esmero via the Byzantine Greek.

In short I see little effort in local contemporary magazine photography for any esmero and pride in one’s work. I remember not to long ago that a local photographer confessed to me that the quantity of lights and the quality of lights he used for shoots depended upon pay. I could not understand such a philosophy then and by now there seems to be no memory for putting effort before one presses one’s camera shutter button. 

It is interesting to note that Doctor Pat McGeer has been researching Alzheimer's for many years. I was struck by his intelligence the two times I took his photograph. It is my hope that in some way he will help find a treatment for this scourge.




     

Previous Posts
The Syphilitic William Lobb

Stile Moderno - Very New Music From The 17th Centu...

La Belle Sultane Discovered & We Laughed

Caitlin Legault - Art Model

That Sensational Caitlin

Flavian - Flavus - What's In A Name?

Our Garden May 24, 2014

Bunny Yeager Dies At 85

I Only Smell The Rose - Do I Exist?

A Sweet Baroque Embouchure Not To Be Missed



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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