That Recurring Leaky Tank Problem - AgainMonday, March 30, 2015
On Thursday, July 16, 2009 I wrote the blog below entitled the recurring leaky tank problem. It is I have learned of late an unavoidable factor of life unless you are born to very rich parents and inherit millions from them. In our family my Rosemary has (I am not ashamed to admit) been wearing the financial pants. She makes all decisions involving funds stored, saved, lost or misspent. I have never understood how you borrow money from a bank and then put it into the bank in order to make money years later. I simply cannot understand finances except when I see it as a leaky tank problem. When one is 30 the idea of buying a brand new refrigerator or vacuum cleaner can be exhilaratingly exciting. But when your expensive Breville blender is about to be done in (thank you Eliza!) by bad design I cannot abide in making the decision to buy another one when I have five bucks in my wallet.
In the last few weeks our friend Tim Turner has been taking us to see small nearby houses and concrete condominiums for the eventual move from our decaying mansion on Athlone. Even my roses (85 of them) are tired and Brevilling in a garden with encroaching shade. The act of going to see these houses is in itself a sad and depressing action even if Mr. Turner, suave, friendly and warm drives us around in his nice car. It is a strain for Rosemary who escapes by having long siestas (in the morning and in the afternoon).
Fortunately we are not like some poor Inuit family arriving at the realization that if the morrow does not bring a killed seal starvation will occur. But the stress is still there. It helps to look at the greening of the garden from my living room window as I write this.
I no longer grieve about my roses, our trees, our perennials and the fact that they might soon end in a landfill.
I remember, most fondly, the very British but local photographer Philip Hersee (Age 68) who died March 20, 2013. A few months before he died my friendly camera repairman Horst Wenzel told me that Hersee had left a few of his cameras to be repaired. Not even two months before he died of terminal cancer of the lower regions he was seen at Beau Photo, cheerfully buying photo supplies.
I need to buy a new wheelbarrow to cart little stones that will be unloaded by my lane garage. I use the torpedo (that is what the stones are called) to freshen up our garden paths. It is obvious that a brand new wheelbarrow will last a few years. Will be need it? Phil Hersee would say, “Live your life normally.” And he might have even added, “If your leaky tank goes dry, repair it and fill it again.”
Thank you Philip Hersee for that.
Ever since I can remember there was one word problem in school which I despised since no matter how they hid its core with words it was always a leaky tank problem. So much water (gallons per minute) is going into a tub that has no stopper. So much water is going out of it (gallons per hour). The question was always the same. Will the tub stabilize, empty or overflow?
This problem is one that hits us all in finances, in mortgage payments and just about everything else. It doesn’t take a computer spread sheet to tell me that if the money going into my monthly studio does not exceed the money going out I am going to have an empty tub very soon. And so I have decided to let go of my studio in the next few months.
I can rationalize that the little work that I do in it like lawyer or businessman web portraits I can do in their offices. All I need is a blank wall and to trudge over with my lighting equipment. Those Ministers of Parliament (NDP) that hire my services every once in a while since they know I can make them look honest, incisive and intelligent will have to pay extra for me to secure a day’s studio rental. I don’t see the problem there.
Rosemary saw this coming a few years ago but kept playing around with our money because she thought (rightly at the time) that a studio is part of a photographer’s pride of profession.
For a long time a big chunk of studio money came from my arts photos for the Georgia Straight. That has stopped as the publication has found the cheaper route of either demanding handout art or expecting it staff writers to take the pictures. I don’t see that publication suddenly turning around that mandate.
If there is anything of what I do that may suffer in not having my own studio, it is the personal work that I rely on to keep me on my toes and to keep at bay the tendency of age to deaden passion.
But the personal work now is either the studio portrait of my granddaughters or my work with the undraped human body. Cases in point are these pictures of Lisa Ha, a Vietnamese/Canadian subject of mine that sporadically frequents my studio. These I took a couple of weeks ago. I like to record the change of time. I may have last photographed her about 4 years ago. The next time will probably have to be in my living room or in my garden or in her apartment. I can assert that environmental photographs can have their charm, too.
Best of all I will take my grandmother’s advice to heart, “Nadie te quita lo bailado,” Nobody can take away from you the dances that you have danced.
more Lisa Ha.