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




 

Saturday, April 12, 2014




Listening to music one has never heard before makes the music new. If it happens that the composers of that music were born in the 17th century that does not change our perception. My violinist friend,Marc Destrubé, who performs such music, has often told me that playing it is no different from performing new music of this century and music of the last, something he also specializes in. To him it’s as exciting. As a listener I agree.

In a world where anybody with a computer can write and “publish” and anybody with a camera is a photographer you can add to this rampant trend towards amateurism the idea that anybody can be a journalist and practice criticism. Perhaps the easiest way to call that the emperor is indeed not wearing any clothes is to the posted pictures of food in social media. Food photographers in a recent past were well paid and did a marvelous job of not making food look like a dog’s breakfast.

Musicians, particularly those who use period instruments of the 16th, 17th and 18th century, are the exception to the rule. You can either read complex music, play it with consummate virtuosity or you cannot.

Our 21st century coddles in an unpainted corner of professionals, our engineers, our brain surgeons, our architects, our scientists and our musicians. Outside that unpainted corner is where we (or at least this present scribbler) live and abide while looking in with a question mark of total ignorance and confusion, sort of like seeing those “nasty” Masons of old shake hands. And to make it all worse is this knowledge that “they” know and do something we will never understand. I could use that modern contemporary word, “whatever” and move on and watch a movie on Netflix.

Or I could (and I did) attend a baroque concert presented by this city’s splendid Early Music Vancouver. Last night I not only was witness to The Vocal Concerto -17 Century Cantatas for Bass from a centre first row seat but I also had an unusual glimpse of the machinations of the evening by almost stepping into that unpainted corner with the true professionals of our day.

 For reasons I cannot yet reveal I was allowed access back stage during yesterdays rehearsal ( they started at 5:30, finished at 7 and then played at 8), after surprisingly wearing wonderful elegant clothing, applying makeup, just the women, of course.

I was back stage to photograph the hand (not hands but one hand) of violinist (and Artistic Director of the Portland Baroque Orchestra) Monica Huggett, bass soloist Harry van der Kamp, and guest artist, chitarrone player (can one say chitarronist or use the English and French term for this lofty instrument, Theorbo?), Stephen Stubbs.

But during the interval between the rehearsal and the performance I managed to take some snaps of the violas da gamba (called viols by the connoisseurs) the violone (a sort of baroque version of the modern string bass) and that lofty (it is over 6 ft in height) chitarrone with my Fuji X-E1 (a digital and modern equivalent of an Amati violin in my amateur opinion).

Being back stage made it possible for this mortal (me) to witness the communication (sometimes quite ordinary) among the musicians, gods in my book, who came in, unpacked their instruments and sat down to play. The banter between them as they practiced and stopped and started again was nice to hear and see. Their smiles, proof that what they do is pleasant, made it all seem like they were a family from my seat in the still empty Vancouver Playhouse. The musicians were happy to be in a real theatre and commented on the excellent acoustics. They reveled at being able to come in from both sides of the stage. This was something they could not do in the crowded halls and churches of the previous 6 concerts in the tour. 


These musicians, true artists can be difficult. I noticed how my friend, former bass singer, theorbist and lutenist,  Ray Nurse, who was in charge of tuning Early Music Vancouver’s compact, Quebec-made baroque organ, winced every time Jillon Stoppel Dupree would move the organ and then move it again. I have now learned that perhaps the fussiest instruments of an orchestra which at one time I thought to be the harp we can now include that compact baroque organ.

Now remember, these musicians are not necessarily difficult, their baroque string instruments usually are strung with gut. Gut is sensitive to temperature and humidity. In baroque concerts there is a lot of tuning between pieces. 

The crux of the programming was to show us that composers (in this case they included only German and Austrian) before Bach which until recently were all but forgotten or unknown were surprisingly fantastic. I use that word because music of the 17th century (Bach was born in 1685 so is a composer of the 18th) has often been called that because of its virtuosity and exploration into sounds and methods of playing not practiced before.

The list of composers (my musical grandmother from Seville would have called them “ilustres desconocidos” or illustrious unknowns) included Samuel Scheidt (1587 - 1653), Johan Michael Nicolai (1629 -1685), Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern (1644 -1704), Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637/39 – 1707), Romanus Weichleing (1652 – 1706) and Johan Christoph Bach (1642-1703) who was J.S. Bach’s uncle, a man our Bach deeply admired.

While listening to the concert I subtracted the year of birth from death of these composers, 66, 56, 60, 69, and 61 and figured that at 71 I am in borrowed time but as I am not a musician I have more years of being able to look into that painted corner with the help of my ears.

My ears told me that Dutch bassist Harry van der Kamp has a voice I have never heard like before. His talking voice (coming out from a handsome and slim man who wore a dark suite, a starched white shirt and a very red tie) was similar to my friend Ray Nurse’s. I made a comment to Nurse who immediately said, “If I had a voice like that I would be lot richer.” 


Van der Kamp’s reading (as in interpretation) on Dietrich Buxtehude’s Ich bin eine Bluze zu Saron (Song of Salomon 2:1-3) was profound, emotional and if I happened to have spoken German I would have said his diction was perfect. I expected in my ignorance that a bass singer would sound almost unpleasant but this was not the case and van der Kamp’s command of an unusually high upper register is what makes him unique.

Van der Kamp had a musical “mano a mano” with violinist Hugget. They stood side by side  (with a small continue ensemble of three in the background) in Biber’s Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum (Psalm 127) which he sang in Latin.  And in Bach’s uncle’s Wie bist du denn, o Gott, in Zorn auf mich entbrannt, in German again van der Kamp proved why it is Bach admired his uncle.


Except for the Biber instrumental, I have his Five Joyful Mysteries usually called the Rosary Sonatas, and I have some Buxtehude, including his Membra Jesu Nostri,  I had never ever heard this music before. Josh Lee on viola da gamba (in a most unusual viola da gamba evening which featured three, two with 7 strings, one with 6) played solo with Stephen Stubbs’s chitarrone and I believe perhaps only the organ), Buxtehude’s Sonata in D Major for bas viol, BuxWV 268.  I had to smile at Lee's performance and when he stood up with his grin and his architect’s little round glasses I could feel the tension and the strain of my day dissipate.

Of Huggett’s playing I cannot here explain it. I am not a critic. But I can ascertain that she is a “fenómeno” one of those one-of-a-kinds like Spanish matador Manolete who was deemed a fenómeno by his Spanish fans. 

Only once have I ever had CD, Monica Huggett and Galatea'- Paul Beir Galatea, music of Biagio Marini, autographed by a performer. I did a few years ago when I attended a Monica Huggett concert at UBC’s Chapel. When I approached her I felt butterflies in my stomach. This was not Iggy Pop, or Gerry Mulligan, nor Ella Fitzgerald, in fact when you happen to (if you are lucky to be in her presence) see her you might think she is part of Elizabeth II’s very small and intimate knitting circle.

This was confirmed when I took pictures of her hand holding her violin. Her accent is not different from her queen’s. I told her, “You might not want to talk to me. You see I am an Argentine”. She stopped on her tracks (we were walking to where I had set up my light backstage) smiled at me and shook my hand. When I told her my grandfather was from Manchester she told me in a most excited way that even though she was from London she had lived in northern England.



Last night’s concert was extra special for me (and for few others, I am smug to boast) because I heard Romanus Weichlein’s Sonata  No. 3 in A minor from Encania Musices, Opus 1 (1695) twice, in the rehearsal and in the evening’s performance. This work’s second movement is a ground or chaconne. I discovered my love of grounds, which usually have a background almost like a drone of often repeating bass accompaniment in my desert island album, Corelli Violin Sonatas Opus 5, Trio Sonnerie (with Monica Huggett, naturally!) and Nigel North. Corelli’s version of an old ground, Sonata No.12 in D minor “Follia” (sometimes listed as La Folia with one l).

And that was not the only fabulous ground of the evening. Josh Lee played one. It was one of the movements of his Buxtehude Sonata.

And evening with three grounds! None nicer. 


The musicians of the Portland Baroque Orchestra with guests Harry van der Kamp, bass and Stephen Stubbs on chitarrone were:

Monica Huggett, violin
Erin Headley viola da gamba (continuo)
Carla Moore, violin
Josh Lee, tenor and bass viola da gamba
Elisabeth Reed, bass viola de gamba
Curtis Daily, violone
Jillon Stoppela Dupree, organ.





Friday, April 11, 2014




I would like to caution anybody reading this that I am not a musical critic, therefore I have no qualifications to indulge with anybody why it is that you should pay a moderate sum of money to attend a concert of 17th century music brought to us by Early Music Vancouver. All I have going is an enthusiasm of many years of listening to this fantastic music.



One of my desert island CDs with Monica Huggett

The Vocal Concerto
17th-Century Cantatas for Bass

Friday evening, 11 April 2014 at 8:00 pm | Pre-concert chat with host Matthew White at 7:15 pm
Vancouver Playhouse | Queen Elizabeth Theatre complex, 600 Hamilton Street, downtown Vancouver

This is the line-up of musicians:

A PORTLAND BAROQUE ORCHESTRA PRODUCTION:

Monica Huggett artistic director & violin
Harry van der Kamp bass soloist
Stephen Stubbs chitarrone (guest artist)
Erin Headley viola da gamba (continuo)
Carla Moore violin
Josh Lee tenor & bass viola da gamba
Elisabeth Reedbass viola da gamba
Curtis Daily violone
Jillon Stoppels Dupree organ

I might explain to you what exactly what is a chitarrone. You might be vague on violones and a tad confused on the difference between a cello, a baroque cello and viola de gamba. But I am not. There is always Google. As for a detailed explanation of the works being played and of the musicians Early Music Vancouver has the policy of putting its programs (with detailed notes) on line. Friday’s notes are here.

Here are composers, whose names, some quite fresh and new to me, are not in your usual households!

Nikolaus Bruhns (1665-1697), Johann Michael Nicolai (1629–1685), Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern (1644-1704), Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637/39-1707), Romanus Weichlein (1652–1706), Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703).

 

Baroque music spans the early 16th century and is sort of ends with the ascendance of Bach’s son, Carl Philip Emanuel Bach who ushered in the early classical period.

What is important to know is that this Early Music Vancouver concert features music from the 17th century. This century was privy to a terrible religious war, The 30 Year’s War, Spain lost its Peruvian and Mexican gold and silver in Flanders and Louis XIV pretty well invented ballet.

But there were two events in that century that pretty well changed it and ushered us into a modern era. It had all begun with grown men arguing a variant of Zeno’s paradox where Achilles is never able to overtake the slow tortoise. The variant posited the apparent problem of the dimension of a point in geometry. A point by definition is a place that has no dimension. But then these grown men argued, why was it that when you lined the up they formed a line that indeed had a dimension? And if you joined this line with two more at the ends (a triangle) you ended up with a measurable area. Three more lines and you had a three-sided pyramid with a measurable volume.

The answer to the problem came with the simultaneous but independent invention of the calculus by the end of the 1680s by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. They brought to the language of the time the word infinitesimal. Unfortunately with knowledge of the calculus and with Newton’s discovery of gravity, this combined to give warfare a real improvement to kill more. The calculus and gravity for the first time made it possible to know how far and where a cannonball would fall. It revolutionized ballistics.

At the same time composers of that early baroque period were having the times of the lives. Some of those established rules that came into effect by the 1730s had no validity yet. And so these composers experimented with all sorts of things and particularly to this jazz aficionado (me) those delightful odd or blues notes that appear in the compositions of Thelonious Monk creep up here in there!

While I happen to have several of the works of the composers of Friday’s concert I must assert here my principal reason for going – Monica Huggett.

If my house were to burn down I would save my wife and cats and then remove three CDs for what now is obviously my short-lived posterity as I am an old man.

Two of the CDs are (Archangelo)  Corelli’s Violin Sonatas Opus 5 with the Trio Sonnerie & Nigel North on archlute, theorbo and guitar. 

Monica Huggett plays the violin. She plays a baroque violin. The term baroque to describe music that had an approximate span of 150 years is a modern 20th century term. My mother had some baroque (she pronounced the word ba-rock) pearls that were not round but irregular in shape. Baroque churches are never plain. They have intricately busy altars. Perhaps baroque music can sound to some intricately busy!  

 Until the beginning of the 19th century when classical composers like Beethoven could fill large venues with paying patrons, music had been music of a small elite or in the congregation of a church. Instruments did not have to be loud. This was the era of those subtle instruments like the harpsichord, the lute (and that chitarrone related to the theorbo and the archlute). Stringed instruments weren’t loud


But come the 19th century these violins, violas and cellos were beefed up for strength so that strings could be installed that had more tension. These modified instruments, louder instruments, became the norm. Those Guarnieri, Amati and Stradivari that now exchange hands for many millions of dollars are old instruments that have been modified to be modern.

 There would be few of these stellar string instruments in their original condition. This means that baroque musicians that play period instruments usually have instruments that are made much later or are replicas of those violins (not beefed up) of old. The paradox then is that modern violinists play (the ones that can afford them) play very old instruments and Monica Huggett probably plays a more recent acquisition.

These “old” instruments not being so loud achieve a warmer tone and violinists and violists who play them do not have chinrests (the were invented by a contemporary of Beethoven, Ludwig Spohr).

The third CD, another desert island CD with perhaps a Gerry Mulligan My Funny Valentine, is  Bach’s fifth movement , the Chaconne from his Partita in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1004). I have it played by Huggett. She played this in Vancouver in 2000 while appearing with a baroque group of the time, the Burney Ensemble. The recording was made by the brilliant but now retired recording engineer Don Harder. My CD was given to me by a producer at the CBC for services rendered. When I play it very loud in my living room Huggett is with me. I can feel her presence.

Now that new music can be heard in countless energy and insurance TV ads featuring Philip Glass what new music can possibly sound exciting?

This is what the music of the 17th century is all about. The musical period is sometimes called the fantastic period. Many of the pieces that you might listen to this Friday if you go because you might have read this will be pieces so new from composers that are not in our memory. Best of all (but worst perhaps) you will listen to them and never again in a lifetime unless you buy the CDs. Sort of like good modern dance. Only the memory of the movements will remain.

And lastly, consider that this 17th century music was played in small salons, the salons of Dukes and Kings. It is intimate, it is close (I always sit first row) and you can hear each individual instrument. These musicians, smile at each other, they play together and with you so close you can imagine that you are one of them. With but a little of imagination you can be a king or a queen.

And you will notice Monica Huggett. And then you will understand my preference.

 Monica Hugget and Corelli's Opus 5  Follia





Los Artistas & La Modelo
Thursday, April 10, 2014



“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


Linda Lorenzo


Today’s blog is an ancillary of  yesterday's blog perhaps with a lesser tad of melancholia and alienation. I would like to sort of reverse Coleridge’s quote from his The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and point out that I have cameras everywhere, lights everywhere, but not a face to photograph. 



Los artistas y la modelo
 This is the reason why since last night I have been looking into the very thick files of negatives and slides of Argentine Linda Lorenzo with whom, Nora Patrich, Juan Manuel Sánchez, Claudia Katz and I collaborated for a show called Nostalgia in 2000. There are hundreds of pictures I have never printed. Since most of the photographs, pictures, drawings and paintings of our show featured nudes it is difficult for me to select some that will not offend the modern sensibilities of the smart phone generation.

It is appalling to see how the quality of photography seems to have diminished in inverse proportion to the sophistication of the devices used to record the human face. It would seem that few people understand that a cell phone’s wide angle lens when positioned close to the face for a selfie will produce a most accurate manifestation of it. Indeed since your nose is proportionally closer to that lens it will be bigger. And if you hold that phone high up it will make your forehead (closer to the lens) that much bigger.

Few of these photographers seem to understand anything about the “quality” or direction of light. The concept of contrast and its control, central to the idea of portraiture or garden photography seems to have gone the way of the clutch.

For today I want to feature a bit of show-and-tell on the wonders of artistic collaboration particularly when it is an extended one and routine sets in (a comfortable routine) and work seems to flow with few words. It all happens automatically in a nice sense.





Sometimes things go wrong but in the right way. A case in point is some of my work in our first session with Linda Lorenzo in Juan Manuel Sánchez and Nora Patrich’s home studio. The other Argentine photographer, Claudia Katz may be discerned in some of the strips of film holding a video camera. You can see the reflection of her camera’s light on the studio windows.

What went wrong is that I decided to shoot some pictures with a Japanese Widelux, swivel lens 35 camera. The camera does not bark but it is a dog. It has a notoriously unreliable shutter and its lens is not fast and not all that sharp. For the pictures here I used a very fast, very grainy Kodak 3200 ISO film. Because the lens swivels to take a 150 degree panorama I was able to get away with a 1/15 second shutter speed.



But if you do not use this camera frequently you can forget how to load it. My Widelux, my Russian version of it a Horizont (it looks like a Buck Rogers ray gun) and a wonderful 120 film German Noblex all have a complex loading procedure.

Somehow I forgot to slip the film under the roller on the right hand side of the Widelux. This means that you get that interesting wedge-shaped exposure on the right and since the film is not held flat that corner is not all that sharp. 

Nora Patrich & Linda Lorenzo

I have scanned each strip of three and combined them all into a digital contact sheet with Photoshop Layers.

Fourteen years later I can still remember the smell of the paint in the studio, our pre-shoot sessions at the Taf Café on Granville (around the corner from my studio on Robson. I remember the scalding mates we all drank (one metal straw, Argentine custom) and just how unearthly beautiful Linda Lorenzo was (and must still be).


Juan and Nora, separated and live in opposite sides of Buenos Aires. Nora re-married a fine neo-Peronist librarian who has an eternal smile on his face while Juan is glum but still paints (lately draws) his women in his goal of one day painting one line on a sheet of canvas and stating, “There is Plato’s essence of womanhood. That is one woman and all women.”

 Juan Manuel Sánchez above and below, left by Nora Patrich

This all happens while I brood on how all my photographic equipment is making the boards, not shrink but bend under their collective weight.


Juan Manuel Sánchez & Linda Lorenzo


My three panoramics have a lens that swivels in a semi-circle. The scene focuses on film that is flat but flat on an equivalent but reversed semi-circle within the camera. Both the Horizont and the Widelux have to sweep but must do so from an initial standstill. This causes frequent “stutter” streaks on the film. The much more elaborate German Noblex, sweeps without taking a picture, and only when the sweep has reached its correct speed does the shutter open. As you can imagine with digital camera “panoramic stitching” something that even smart phones can accomplish, my three cameras are dead and the companies that made them went bankrupt.


And yet I am not sure that the panoramic sweeps of digital cameras can achieve the quirks mine do when I don’t load them correctly. 




Three Bohemians, LInda, Borges & La Recoleta
Wednesday, April 09, 2014






After a recent viewing of Alec Guinness in The Horse’s Mouth I despaired of not being able to live the Bohemian life. I once did. It was 2000 and I could call up my friends (who lived nearby and always immediately invited me to pass by for a mate or a coffee) Nora Patrich and Juan Manuel Sánchez. They were always to work in any kind of collaboration day or night. It was Patrich who suggested that we project b+w slides of the Buenos Aires cemetery La Recoleta with our Argentine model Linda Lorenzo. I never used my pictures as I took many of Lorenzo in a whole year and Patrich and Sánchez drew, sketched and painted lots, too. Many of this La Recoleta session show off Lorenzo’s body. And she had a lovely one. But my standards for this blog must be kept. You never know when some busybody might report me. I have chosen some that don’t reveal but have a mysterious grainy look that suggests a rainy winter day in Buenos Aires.

At the time the fastest film was Kodak 5054 TMZ film which I rated at 3200 ISO. I shot the first three with an Ilford 3200 in 120 and a Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD and the last two, with the Kodak 5054, one a Nikon FM-2 and the othee, creopped, with a Japanese swivel lens panoramic camera called a Widelux.

I long for those days when just a phone call made anything possible. Now that Bohemian period of my life is over. If only…



La Recoleta

Jorge Luis Borges

Convencidos de caducidad
por tantas nobles certidumbres del polvo,
nos demoramos y bajamos la voz
entre las lentas filas de panteones,
cuya retórica de sombra y de mármol
promete o prefigura la deseable
dignidad de haber muerto.

Bellos son los sepulcros,
el desnudo latín y las trabadas fechas fatales,
la conjunción del mármol y de la flor
y las plazuelas con frescura de patio
y los muchos ayeres de a historia
hoy detenida y única.

Equivocamos esa paz con la muerte
y creemos anhelar nuestro fin
y anhelamos el sueño y la indiferencia.
Vibrante en las espadas y en la pasión
y dormida en la hiedra,
sólo la vida existe.

El espacio y el tiempo son normas suyas,
son instrumentos mágicos del alma,
y cuando ésta se apague,
se apagarán con ella el espacio, el tiempo y la muerte,
como al cesar la luz
caduca el simulacro de los espejos
que ya la tarde fue apagando.

Sombra benigna de los árboles,
viento con pájaros que sobre las ramas ondea,
alma que se dispersa entre otras almas,
fuera un milagro que alguna vez dejaran de ser,
milagro incomprensible,
aunque su imaginaria repetición
infame con horror nuestros días.

Estas cosas pensé en la Recoleta,
en el lugar de mi ceniza.

Jorge Luis Borges
Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923)






Recoleta Cemetery
By Jorge Luis Borges

Translated by Stephen Kessler


Convinced of decrepitude
by so many certainties of dust,
we linger and lower our voices
among the long rows of mausoleums,
whose rhetoric of shadow and marble
promises or prefigures the desirable
dignity of having died.

The tombs are beautiful,
the naked Latin and the engraved fatal dates,
the coming together of marble and flowers
and the little plazas cool as courtyards
and the many yesterdays of history
today stilled and unique.

We mistake that peace for death
And we believe we long for our end
when what long for is sleep and indifference.
Vibrant in swords and in passion,
and asleep in the ivy,
only life exists.

Its forms are space and time,
they are magical instruments of the soul,
and when it is extinguished,
space, time, and death will be extinguished with it,
as the mirrors’ images wither
when evening covers them over
and the light dims.

Benign shade of trees,
wind full of birds and undulating limbs,
souls dispersed into other souls,
it might be a miracle that they once stopped being,
an incomprehensible miracle,
although its imaginary repetition
slanders our days with horror.

I thought these things in the Recoleta,
in the place of my ashes.







Surgeons Must Be Very Careful
Tuesday, April 08, 2014





Surgeons must be very careful (156)
By Emily Dickinson

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit - Life!



Water Is Taught By Thirst
Monday, April 07, 2014




Water, is taught by thirst

135



Water, is taught by thirst.

Land—by the Oceans passed.

Transport—by throe—

Peace—by its battles told—

Love, by Memorial Mold—

Birds, by the Snow.
Emily Dickinson



It Skinned My Eyes
Sunday, April 06, 2014


 
John Alleyne & Gail Skrela


One day I saw a painting by Matisse, a reproduction. I saw it because of the chaps who were laughing and called me over. It gave me the shock of my life. It skinned my eyes for me. And I became a different man.
Gulley Jimson in The Horse’s Mouth


On Saturday night (last night) after a dinner of gnocchi in the oven (with lots of Parmesan and cheddar cheese) and a dessert of tapioca pudding from scratch we (Rosemary, Hilary, Lauren, 11 and I) sat down in the den (with a roaring fire) to watch Ronald Neame’s 1958 film The Horse’s Mouth with Alec Guinness. The film was based on Joyce Cary’s novel by the same name.

There is a statement that Gulley Jimson (Alec Guinness) makes that froze me. I attempted to find the quote in my copy of Cary’s novel but I suspect that it may have been written into the film by Guinness as he was responsible for the screenplay.

I have no idea when I first saw the film. I remember it was funny and that Gulley Jimson was a bohemian to an excess, much worse than my womanizing private art teacher in the middle 50s in Mexico City. Robin Bond mixed his paints not on a palette but on the walls of his studio. The floor was soaked with countless cups of black coffee that had been spilled and ashtrays everywhere where brimming over with cigarette butts.


Rosemary was not too happy with the film and our daughter took it all so seriously and she was disgusted at the antics of the selfish and overbearing artist played so well by Guinness.

To my surprise it was Lauren who laughed and enjoyed the film. I told her, “We are the only sophisticates here.” It reminded me of my grandmother when I was Lauren’s age who would shield me from my mother’s wrath saying, “Nena, you must forgive Alex, he is an artist like I am.”

The quote on Matisse by Jimson made me think of what moment my eyes may have been skinned. I have written about it many times. I was 8 or 9 and my mother had taken me to the United States Information Service (the benign and outside image of the CIA) Lincoln Library on Calle Florida in Buenos Aires. I happened to open a publication or book by the American Heritage Society and I saw my first images of live and dead American Civil War soldiers taken by Brady, O’Sullivan and Gardner. I was struck by the immediacy of men that looked alive (and indeed they were when the photographs were taken I realized) and that if I went outside to the street I just might run into them.

I have been most interested in the American Civil War since. Like most of those photographs I rarely make my subjects laugh or smile.

And yet it is strange for me to use as an example of portraiture that was inspired by portraits of American Civil War soldiers this particular one of John Alleyne, former Artistic Director of Ballet BC and the formidable dancer Gail Skrela. You might notice that there is a hint of a smile in both of them.

I too, like Gulley Jimson became a different man.



     

Previous Posts
Mumbai's Zona de Tolerancia

An Encounter with the Exotic at the York Theatre

Lauren & Casi-Casi Met Up

Edwin Varney - Unstampable

Edward Clendon River - Michael Turner & Modigliani...

The Progression of an Idea.

Boeing 747 The Queen of the Skies

In Search of My Relevance With The Goblin Market

Marv Newland's Scratchy - Itching Us On

Rain



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9/10/06 - 9/17/06

9/17/06 - 9/24/06

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12/28/08 - 1/4/09

1/4/09 - 1/11/09

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1/25/09 - 2/1/09

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