Maddalena - The Woman With The Black GlovesSunday, January 04, 2015
In my life as a photographer I have divided it into two categories. One involves taking pictures for hire. I can be hired by a newspaper or magazine, a TV station or a private person. It can also be a company (many in my past) which commissioned me for annual reports. The second category, I sometimes call it my personal one. The personal one can mean taking pictures of family and friends, of landscapes that might interest me. Some of these can just be snapshots. There is also within the category the art one –shooting pictures for the simple reason that I am told I have artistic sensibilities. These art ones can be scans of the flowers of our garden or portraits (serious ones) of my granddaughters. But more often than not these art pictures are about my concern, obsession, and interest in the undraped female figure with an ancillary interest in what can make the undraped female (or dressed!) erotic.For these latter ones I obtain women that I know (or not know but get to know) to come to my studio (now a home studio) to pose for me. The process can be in two different ways much like in the two ways we may take a swim in a cold pool. Some of us might go in little by little in what amounts to slow torture or we might just jump in, in spite of the fear of that initial shock of the cold. Some of these women who pose for me undrape gradually. Some simply take it all off.
The most important ingredient of a successful photographic session is the frank communication with my subject (beforehand, usually over coffee or tea) of my intentions. I lay them out and if my subject is interested I explain what lights I might use, film, cameras, etc. You never ever have someone come to your studio without a game plan.In a few cases in my past, perhaps because of a trust developed with my subject after many photo sessions in long periods of time (years) it was my subject who came to my studio with a plan (not announced to me at all) that in many cases was a complete surprise or so surprising that I could not read the purpose at all.
For many years one of my favourite subjects was the Italian Maddalena. Finally she moved to Montreal (to my chagrin) and from there to Italy to that city that has one of the largest Gothic cathedrals. Perhaps it was when she had settled in Montreal that she came to Vancouver for a visit. I don’t remember all the details but I do know we had an intimate dinner at a beautiful little restaurant in the West End called Lola’s (now long gone) and that one of the attendees was John Armstrong. I may have enquired if Maddalena was into photographs. She must have said yes as one afternoon she appeared and instructed me to do as I was told.I did not use any lights and I took pictures of her with two Nikon FM-2 cameras loaded with very fast b+w and colour negative film. Here they are, all the black and white ones.
But as my memory has confirmed, look below, Maddalena always had a thing about black gloves and their variants.