In the early 70s a dearest friend and mentor, my Spanish grandmother, María de los Dolores (Lolita) Reyes de Irureta Goyena traveled back from Cairo to my mother’s home in Veracruz. I looked into her once lively, happy and intelligent eyes and saw that nobody was home. It was my first perception of dementia.
Until then my abuelita, who was a coloratura soprano and a fine pastel artist had been my stalwart defender. In my childhood she prevented me from getting chinelazos (spankings with Filipino slippers) from my mother. She defended my quirks and misbehaviour by declaring that like her I, too was an artist.
In fact until the mid 90s I never acknowledged to myself that I was an artist, in spite of my abue’s affirmation.
Since my entry into Vancouver, via Mexico City in 1975 with my wife and two daughters I have been a fairly successful commercial and magazine photographer. Some 20 years ago I began to write, too. Perhaps I had inherited the journalistic talents of my father George who worked for the Buenos Aires Herald in the 40s and 50s.
But it wasn't until the mid 90s that I branched into photographic art (but preventing criticism by stating that I was no artist but an efficient technician). The bulk of this so-called art was my frequent (I started around 1977) interest in the undraped female human form. Since 1977 I have taken hundreds if not many thousands of them.
In this age of pornography I define it as an attempt at art that is done in bad taste. I must confess that I tried shooting pornography a few times but I was always thwarted by good taste (not political correctness) and a built-in filter in my head prevented me from pressing the shutter.
In the early 90s on a trip to Buenos Aires I was involved in heated arguments with my very Argentine cousins and nephews. I asked them how a toothpaste company could justify an ad featuring a female in a skimpy bikini. I told them that no such ad could ever be seen in my now home of Canada. They attacked my manhood telling me that I was “afeminado” (they used a much stronger word that I will not place here).
When I see pictures of women (buxom or not so) posing by Mustangs, Ferraris or by Harley Davidsons I see these as pornographic in that they objectify women as accessories no different from side mirrors.
In my winter of life with my body not reacting to the calls of the wild I find that my thoughts on beauty, women, the human form, not to mention such bits as cleavage, thighs, etc are more cerebral. I think that this cerebral (literally in my head with fond memories of below-the-belt rumblings of a distant past) point of view is helping me take some of the most erotic photographs of my life.
I will acknowledge that I appreciate my wife Rosemary’s long suffering tolerance on the matter but I have to report here that another member of my family without ever having said it out loud considers me to be a pornographer.
My abuelita would often state “Nadie es profeta en su tierra.” Years later I figured out it came from Saint Luke, 4, 24 “Nobody is a prophet in his own land.”
But it hurts.
Nadie es profeta en su tierra
Nadie es profeta en su tierra