Una Carta De Un Amigo
Saturday, January 18, 2014
de enero, 2014 5:51 PM
Alex, hace tiempo que no recibo noticias acerca de ti,tal vez el clima gèlido no
predisponga para correos, como a mi me paraliza el insoportable calor de Bs.
As.No obstante sigo un poco tus pasos a travès de tus interesantes blogs,me
agradaron sobremanera, las fotografias de la familia reunida para las navidades
pasadas.Yo estoy atravesando una etapa complicada con la salud de mi madre,dado
que me encuentra en una etapa en que mi propia salud padece, con motivo de las intensas y
persistentes altas temperaturas.Gracias a a la divina providencia soy un
privilegiado que no sufre cortes de energia.
sobrevivo a los avatares de una Argentina incorregible que tropieza una y otra
vez con los mismos insufribles obstàculos.
Contame en que te estas ocupando,descontando
que vos y todos tus afectos se hallen disfrutando de buena salud.
Recibe un cariñoso abrazo
de enero, 2014 4:49 PM
no tengo ninguna razón para poder explicar mi tardía respuesta a tus
llegué a Toronto en camino a Vancouver tuve un problemita del corazón que
apacigüé con un café en mi habitación. ¡No temía morir, temía no poder ver a mi
mujer y mis gatos!
todo tipo de pruebas y en febrero me darán un pronóstico.
El viaje a
Buenos Aires fue un shock, una palabra muy usada por Vargas Llosa en su
temporada como candidato a la presidencia del Perú.
diferencia entre los que vivían en las villas/miserias/de-las-vías del
ferrocarril, la vida más o menos placentera de Nora y Roberto en Bella Vista y
la del hijo de mi sobrino en su barrio/chacra/cerrado de polo me asombró.
en tren todos los días fueron una experiencia tipo Londres de Dickens siglo 19
con los niños pordioseros.
La falta de
noticias mundiales en detalle en los noticieros que veían Nora y Roberto y los
extraños noticieros venezolanos en los cuales parecía que Chávez aún estaba
vivo me hacía extrañar los buenos noticieros del Canadá y mi New York Times.
realmente no existe el "tú". Cuando entrevistan a Obama hay un cierto
respeto que es parte del idioma. Esto se complica en el castellano de la
Argentina donde hay el usted, el tú y el vos. Esas entrevistas con la
presidente donde dijo, "Me llamaron yegua y puta." me trastornaron.
escritor indio/inglés V.S. Naipaul escribió un famoso libro (The Return of Eva
Perón) con ensayos de su experiencias en la Argentina hasta el 1977. Su
descripción del país es idéntica al país que acabo de visitar. Parece que nada
ha cambiado. Hoy me llegó el aviso a través de correo electrónico que mi
biblioteca pública del barrio tenía mi libro pedido, Santa Evita del Tomás Eloy
Martínez (en castellano). He leído esta muy interesante novela sobre Eva Perón. Ni el libro de Naipaul o éste de Gregory Widen será traducido al castellano.
biblioteca encontré un DVD (en castellano) The Mystery of Eva Perón de un Tulio
Demicheli en donde entrevistan al padre confesor de Evita y varios amigos y
enemigos. Baschetti en la Biblioteca Nacional me ha dicho que no conoce el DVD.
los libros de Saramago y de Camilleri han sido traducidos al castellano. Leo
los libros del mexicano Taibo II y Homero Aridjis en castellano pero varios han
sido traducidos. Pero existe una enorme cantidad de literatura universal que
nunca saldrá a la luz en la Argentina por no traducirse o no existir una buena
librería donde se pueda obtener en su idioma original.
pudo conseguir después de una larga búsqueda la película Martín Fierro de Torre
Nilsson. Es una terrible copia a DVD. Es una vergüenza.
En fin he
llegado a la conclusión que me siento enajenado en Vancouver, en Buenos Aires y
ahora que murío mi amigo Raúl y no tengo familiares en la ciudad de México,
decía Juan Manuel Sánchez cuando vivía aquí, "Somos pingüinos en el polo norte."
Pero a lo
bueno. Me encantó nuestro viaje en el subte y el almuerzo en tu casa. Un buen y
verdadero amigo (y lo sos) es un tesoro de mucho valor. Te agradezco por él.
entusiasmado con lo mío (la fotografía). Últimamente he usado también una Leica
IIIF (1952) que me dió mi amigo Abraham Rogatnick ántes de fallecer hace tres
años. Aquí podés ver unos resultados. Las fotos son de una serie sobre las
mujeres de las novelas de Raymond Chandler.
con un amigo escritor John Lekich que aprecia las viejas películas. Llegó a
entrevistar a Lillian Gish y a Claire Bloom. Ahora vamos
a terminar la serie que comenzó con esta con un
ensayo fotográfico (con la rubia de la Leica) sobre una actriz que falleció
hace un mes llamada
modelo mía (vietnamita) con la cual trabajamos Nora y Juan me vino a visitar el
otro día. Aquí te incluyo una foto tomada con película instantánea Fuji (la
acaban de retirar del mercado pero tengo 10 cajas, cien fotos).
viejos y tenemos que sufrir las consecuencias. Espero tu madre se mejore.
abrazo de tu amigo,
Post # 2973
Friday, January 17, 2014
In 28 days I will have written 3000 blogs. Many
are of considerable length, all but a few with my photographs. Some are guest written. John Lekich and Les Wiseman are two that have. Tonight I want to
reflect on this milestone of mine.
A friend today after seeing a few old
posting links to older blogs in facebook (notice that it has to be in
lowercase) asked me, “Are you now regurgitating your old blogs?”
The question is a valid one as few who are
on facebook ever go to a particular person’s page but only follow the postings
they might notice. Had my friend gone to my actual blog (skipping the link through
Twitter (@alexwh or the facebook one) he would have noticed that I have a blog
for every day. But people now do not really use RSS feeds they use facebook or
Twitter as easy portals. My regurgitated blogs are really random picks of mine as few are really able to navigate my almost 3000 blogs. You can use Google. As an example, alex waterhouse-hayward, malibu will connect you to quite a few varied blogs related to my car. Raymond Chandler after a comma and my name or the same for Emily Dickinson will lead to to perhaps interesting encounters with pictures that go with the writing of those two Americans.
I have further noticed that many even today
see my facebook link postings to my blog and get to click that like button
about liking your photograph. Some of them still do not understand that there
is a link to the blog and the written part.
People who should know better will see a
photograph of P.D. James (identified as such in the body of my blog) and ask, “Is
that P.D. James?” Obviously they are too busy to read.
In this new social media/writing platform
called Medium.com to which I write a few new but mostly retread or re-modified
blogs, they have an innovation which is that every essay has the estimated
reading time in minutes. Medium.com’s statistics divide you essays into views
and reads and then follow that with a read ratio in %.
The statistics of my Blogger tell me that I
have an average of 350,000 page views per month. But if Blogger statistics
incorporated Medium’s those so-called page views could be perhaps 50% smaller.
Many who write essays for Medium stress
that the purpose of a blog is to instruct others.
I would challenge that. I see that many of
my blogs may be seen (and perhaps not read at all) by few so I would be
deluding myself in thinking that I am writing these and this to instruct.
I think that a blog is much like a Shakespearean
soliloquy in which I put down on a monitor screen my thoughts and I am too old
and too modern to begin every day with Dear Diary.
My basement photo files which are all in
alphabetical order and some drawers are by themes like writers, travel, family,
have ordered in my head my photographic output through the years. My blog has
helped me in this as the pictures here, well over 3000, do manifest not only
part of that photographic production but also an interweaving of my thoughts on
books I have read, people I have met and interacted with plus lots of stuff of
my own life which my family, and particular my two daughters enjoy reading.
My blog is useful to me and to a few that
are close to me. If others find utility that is up to them. If they do not I
cannot be damned for the failure as it is not my intent to educate or instruct.
In Defence Of Arrogance?
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Two men went up into the temple to pray;
one was a Pharisee, the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood upright, and made this prayer in his heart, I thank
thee, God, that I am not like the rest of men, who steal and cheat and commit
adultery, or like this publican here; for myself, I fast twice in the week, I
give tithes of all that I possess. And
the publican stood far off; he would not even lift up his eyes towards heaven;
he only beat his breast, and said, God, be merciful to me; I am a sinner. I tell you, this man went back home higher in
God’s favour than the other; everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and
the man who humbles himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:9-14 (Knox Catholic Bible)
The above St.
Luke recounting of one of Jesus’s parables is one that I have never ever
forgotten. Of late it has been much in my thoughts. Let me explain.
Some ten years ago I was invited to a roof
party at the house of a female designer I worked with for many years. She had
retired and was launching herself as an artist (a very good one). I ran into a
woman whom I did not remember but who remembered me. She told me we (she had
been the editor) had worked for a publication of the Vancouver Central 1 Credit
Union some years ago and that her impression of me was that I was arrogant.
I was shocked to hear this. Of late I asked
my wife if she thought I was arrogant and she concurred with the Credit Union
Editor. That shocked me even further.
With my head on her lap (sometime around
1964) on a bus on the way to Veracruz, Mexico I asked Judy Brown to explain to
me her concept on the lack of altruism in the world opposed to its common
opposite selfishness. Brown explained that even giving your life for someone
else brought the pleasure of satisfaction to the person giving up their life
and thus even Christ had been selfish when he was on the cross. I could not
find any way of countering with some sort of example that she could not twist
so I gave up. Neither of us had ever heard or read any Ayn Rand or knew anything
about her “the virtue of selfishness.” With Alan Greenspan as one of Rand’s followers I can now explain why it is that so many
American of the Republican Party are keen on stopping food stamps and
unemployment security benefits. Poor people were born to be poor and will
remain so because they have no ambition and they are lazy. Rand
would not have put it in exactly those words but she would have agreed with
direction of the content. For Rand some of us
were born as acorns and would one day grow to be large and prosperous oak trees
while others would be tiny and fragile plants in which no kind of help would
counter the tendency for weakness and smallness.
In past blogs I have written about my
feeling of isolation and even of my alienation in Vancouver. I have harped on how the phone
never rings and how my messages on answering machines are rarely returned.
I know have an inkling of what this
isolation/alienation might be. It is not that at all. It is a marginalization.
I am not a friend of the present mayor as I was of the former one. The contacts
that people say I have are either dead or living elsewhere. They have moved on.
Three recent requests for my pictures from New
York Magazine, the British Harper’s Bazaar and a director working on a
documentary about Roger Ebert, only cement the realization that had moved early
in my career to Toronto,
my marginalization would not be as severe.
But there is more and it came to me some
four years ago when I went to Grant
Simmons at DISC for some drum scans of some of my transparencies. For
one of the transparencies I showed him an exquisite light jet print (20 by 24 inches)
of my granddaughter Rebecca. Rebecca was with me at the time. Simmons looked at
the exquisite print and said, “Leave that here. I can print a better one.” As
we left and as we approached the car my Rebecca said, “He is full of himself,
isn’t he?” I attempted to explain the difference between having an accurate
self-confidence in one’s abilities and that of being a charlatan. But it was to
no avail. Rebecca thought Simmons was full of it. And of course when Simmons
presented me with his version, the erstwhile exquisite light jet print was
clearly no match to Simmons’s giclée.
For quite a few years
I was the virtual staff photographer for Vancouver Magazine and many more
magazines including the Georgia Straight. In a small market I owned a big
pie. I could feel the resentment in some of my peers.
Now as I languish in
retirement and with paid photography just about non-existent I understand my
isolation and why photographers will not call me back.
So I live a present
life of exciting personal photography with nobody to show it to or to discuss.
It was my mentor (who
died in early 2013) Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. Who told us when we were
around 16 that our mission in life was to find out what we had been born to do
(he further explained that it was to find out what we could do well or had an
interest in) and to do it to the best of our ability.
It seems to me that
even if you do not believe that a personal talent is a God-given talent, the
pursuit of the goal of achieving it means that once you achieve it you have the
confidence to say that what you do is done well and that is just the way it is.
Anything else would be false modesty. My friend Judy Brown would have concurred
on that, too!
Which brings me to the
parable of the Pharisee and the publican. In most versions of the New
Testament, the Publican is explained as being a tax-collector. I like the
ordinary sounding publican. I believe that the Pharisee has been maligned a
bit. And that the publican should learn to have more confidence in his
abilities (God-given or not).
Was that Pharisee that
over-confident, arrogant even? I am
beginning to have my doubts.
Tatiana - In Bed With A Friend
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
This was going to be about all the authors
I have met through the years and how I photographed many of them. But it’s not.
That will have to be for another day.
|Nightwing, 1977, back cover - Photograph Emily A. Smith|
This will be about an author I have never
met but one whose literary output (almost all of it) has at one time been at my
I first “met” Martin Cruz Smith in 1979 in
his 1977 book Nightwing. I was a fan by 1981 when I read his first Arkady Renko
In 1986 I was fascinated by his novelized account of the making of the atom
bomb, Stallion Gate and the fact that it dovetailed perfectly with another
favourite book of mine, the non fiction version, Richard Rhodes’s The Making of
the Atom Bomb which appeared that same year.
I have had Cruz Smith in bed since. One
novel of his that has special significance (one of wonder) is his 1996 Rose in
which the protagonists and action all share a Victorian coal mining town called
|Tatiana, 2013, author photograph Doug Menuez|
Here is the beginning of Chapter 4
The Cannel Room was the strangest dining
room Blair had ever seen.
Bishop Hannay sat at the head of the table.
Around it where his sister-in-law, Lady Rowland; Reverend Chubb; a union man
named Fellowes; Lady Rowland’s daughter Lydia; Earnshaw, the member of
Parliament from the train; Leveret Blair; and at the foot of the table and
The Cannel Room’s ceiling, walls and
wainscoting were paneled in polished black stone. Table and Queen Anne chairs
were hand-turned work of the same material. Chandelier and candelabras seemed
carved of ebony. Yet the walls showed no marble veins. The weight of the chairs
was wrong. The temperature was wrong; marble always felt cooler than the air
around it, but when Blair laid his hand on the table it was almost warm. Properly
so, since cannel was jet, a form of exceedingly fine coal. He had seen
sculptures in black cannel. The Cannel Room was the only room made entirely of
coal, and it was famous. Its effect was heightened by contrasts: the luminous
shimmer of silver and crystal on the black table, the deep purple of Lady
Rowland’s gown, the camellia-white of Miss Rowland’s dress.
The men – except for Blair, of course –
were all dressed for dinner in black, Hannay and Chubb in cassocks. The butler
was assisted by four footmen in black satin livery. The floor was carpeted in
black felt to silence the sound of their feet. The effect was as if they were
dining in an elegant hall far below the surface of the earth. Blair ran his
hand over the table and looked at his palm. Clean: not a speck of carbon dust,
not an atom, not a mote.
Rose, Martin Cruz Smith 1996
In these pages I have often harped of the
advantages (even after you calculate the expense) of a hard copy, daily
delivered NY Times that crashes on my front door in the middle of the night 365
days of the year.
Consider this. On Tuesdays the NY Times has
a section called Science Times. It was on November 12, 2013 that I read the
incredible revelation that Martin Cruz Smith’s latest, Tatiana and the previous
(and also Arkady Renko novel) Three Stations had both been dictated by Martin
Cruz Smith to his wife because he is unable to type or write. He has Parkinson’s.
Not even his publisher or his agent knew of this.
I wonder how many reading of this might
have known or found the story imbedded somewhere in the digital version of the
No, I have never even had a glimpse of the
real man and yet as I look at all his author photographs he has aged like many
of my favourite subjects that I come back year after year to take their
portrait. I see Cruz Smith's portraits almost as my own.
Tatiana was a two nights-in-bed read and
the first three paragraphs are killer takes on a young man who cycles on a very
expensive bike. I called up two of my friends who are cyclists (big time). One is
Andrew Taylor from Yorkshire who lives in Guadalajara
the other is Vancouver
photographer Hans Sipma. The latter once visited me riding on the most
expensive bicycle I have ever seen. Sipma said, "I cannot afford the car I
would want to have, a Ferrari, so this is the next best thing.”
I will not tell you more except for two
things, one mentioned in the Science Times article. In the book one of the significant
pieces of evidence is the cyclist/translator’s notebook that nobody can read. It
is covered in symbols nobody can decipher. It seems that the NY Times reporter
found this in parallel to Cruz Smith’s brain degeneration in which even taking
notes is an impossible task. For me the other dovetailing fact, much more
relevant vis à vis Parkinson’s is that we find out that in the previous novel, Three Stations,
Arkady Renko has been shot by a very young chess master and the bullet has
lodged in his brain. Renko survives but the bullet is irreparably in place and
at any time (readers will never know until it happens) it will move just a smidgen
to end Arkady’s long career.
The book read I felt a momentary depression.
When is the next one? Will I be around for it? And then by the next morning all
was forgotten when two new books by an old friend, J. Robert Janes, Bellringer
and Tapestry arrived from Amazon.
You see, it does not make any difference
with whom I warm my bed, as long as it is a friend.
And before I forget, there is no coal room in Tatiana but there is a strange and very big building in Kaliningrad painted blue so that it will blend with the sky and not be seen by a visiting Putin.
And just as sure that I know that the bullet will not ever budge in Arkady Renko's brain, I know that Martin Cruz Smith will be in my bed for years to come.
I Felt My Life With Both My Hands
Monday, January 13, 2014
felt my life with both
I felt my life with
both my hands
To see if it was
I held my spirit to
To prove it possibler—
I turned my Being
round and round
And paused at every
To ask the Owner's
For doubt, that I
should know the Sound—
I judged my
features—jarred my hair—
I pushed my dimples
by, and waited—
If they—twinkled back—
Conviction might, of
I told myself,
"Take Courage, Friend—
That—was a former
But we might learn to
like the Heaven,
As well as our Old
I must point out here that Carla Bruni (married to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy) recorded a song last year with this poem as lyrics here.
More Emily Dickinson
Truly, Madly & Wonderfully
Sunday, January 12, 2014
I sometimes think about those strange and unlikely
events. Consider that Roman Emperor Constantine the Great became emperor when
his father died. Constantine was in York. In the few times
that I have been in London
I can imagine passing through the ghost of Julius Caesar who did cross to
Britannia in a galley.
Another unlikely occurrence is that of
Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist who in 1805 ran a grocery
store in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. My favourite is that of
Napoleon’s brother Joseph (formerly the King of Spain) who in the 1820s lived
in Bordentown, New Jersey.
I have my own example of a strange and
unlikely event. It may be of a minor scale in comparison to the above but, for
me most interesting as I was personally involved.
The first picture you see here is of
Georgito O’Reilly, an Argentine nephew of mine who now plays golf but formerly
was one of Argentina’s
rugby stars. Second you have my friend John Lekich who is a novelist and
writer. He lives in Vancouver.
Third is actress Juliet Stevenson from Kelvedon,
All three happened to converge one weekend
Lekich had to interview Stevenson for the Globe & Mail. I was the
photographer the Globe usually assigned for these hotel room portraits. The
place for the interview and photographic session was the beautiful Sun Room at
the Vancouver Hotel.
It just so happened that in that weekend in
1993 my nephew O’Reilly in a business trip to Chicago
from Buenos Aires, stopped in Vancouver on his way home. I told him he
could come along.
There is something to be said about Juliet
Stevenson not being fazed I the least in having three men with her during her
Only today did I finally get to see her
fabulous 1990 film Truly, Madly, Deeply,
directed by Anthony Minghella and with the sonorously voiced Alan Rickman. Without
letting to much out of the hat this is not a ghost story but a story with ghosts
who are into Bach and film noir. There is a little magic, too.
All I can ad here is that I instructed
Stevenson to do three different things, one after the other while I clicked my
shutter and did not move the camera from its tripod.
The film I obtained (naturally) from the
Vancouver Public Library.