Saturday, May 09, 2015
|Rosa 'Blaze' September 6 2006|
The Red—Blaze—is the Morning—
The Violet—is Noon—
The Yellow—Day—is falling—
And after that—is none—
But Miles of Sparks—at Evening—
Reveal the Width that burned—
The Territory Argent—that
Mrs Young bought our house in 1954. I can see her going
to local nurseries and buying plants to stock her garden. She had a heart
attack in our kitchen in 1985 but survived; sold her house and moved to
Ontario. Rosemary and I inherited her garden and for many years we tried to
respect her choice of plants. We imagined that she was somehow a ghost in our
garden. Whenever I would tell Harry Nomura (back in 1986 I thought I could
afford a gardener) to do this, or that he would question me with a, "Mrs Young
usually wanted me to do it this way."
Little by little her presence became less so and we
started putting in our own plants. In 1954 Mrs Young did not have the choice of
species rhododendrons with fragrant flowers (except for the lovely Rhododendron luteum she planted and I so love) so she planted what was hot then.
And hot pinks and reds were hot. We have a few of those left.
I now understand that all this had to be and that we
lived the transition that was Mrs. Young's garden which we then had to make our
own. In our back lane garden Mrs Young planted four climbing Rosa 'Blaze'. In 1954 it was one of the
few disease free red climbers in the market. Blaze is supposed to be moderately
fragrant. In our garden it isn't. I replaced three of the four Blaze with Rosa 'Madame Hardy', Rosa 'Climbing Ophelia', Rosa 'Charles
de Mills', and Rosa 'Ayreshire
Queen'. All of them are very fragrant and people who walk their dogs on our
lane often comment on it.
Allan Morgan & Sarah Rodgers - Peeling a Polaroid
Friday, May 08, 2015
|Sarah Rodgers & Allan Morgan - July 2006|
On any given day in the rose season (now until fall) if you
ask me what is my favourite one I most probably tell you it’s one that is in
bloom. The question is harder to answer in the dark of winter.
Perhaps the same reason applies to the question, “Alex which
is the most favourite photograph you have ever taken?” My answer often is, “It
depends. You mean a portrait, a nude, a landscape, a plant scan, etc?”
While attempting to put some order into my computer’s photo
files I found this Polaroid. I knew of it and I have often run into it. A b+w
film version ran in a Georgia Straight
review sometime in July 2006 for the
play Angels in America.
I was assigned to photograph two of the actors (it was
a four actor play, all excruciatingly excellent), Allan Morgan and Sarah
Rodgers. The latter who played the angel and on stage wore large angel wings
while hanging by ropes suggested she bring the wings to the studio session.
I have a verboten attitude to photographs of women by
motorcycles, cars, on railroad tracks and old steam heating registers. And all
of those much worse if the woman is wearing angel wings.
Being a minimalist at heart I instructed Rodgers to bring
one white feather.
Allan Morgan played (to perfection) the gay-denying nasty
lawyer Roy Cohn.
The two showed up at my studio. It was one of the easiest
and quickest photograph I have ever taken. I shot a Polaroid (what you see here
is a scan of the peeled part of the Polaroid which is impossible to correct and
remove all the inherent yellow tinge). And after that, 10 exposures on b+w
medium format film. Rodgers, in her personal talent of excellency decided that
if we were to capture a sense of intimacy she was going to pose topless even
though from what you see here nothing would be showing.
Many times in portrait sessions in my studio, for tight
portraits of women, my subjects have opted to wearing pumps. It affects their
posture in a positive manner so they say.
I am most excited that Rodgers and I will be soon
collaboration on new photographs. It is my hope that her hair is redder than
Linda Y La Pared
Thursday, May 07, 2015
They often say that those who can’t, teach. I would like
to protest as I think I could and did and do. But I also taught. In the late
80s and early 90s I was an Artist Teacher (that’s what we were called) in the
Outreach Program of Emily Carr. Printmakers, painters, sculptors and
photographers were sent for weekend sessions in remote areas of our province.
For a few years I taught at Focal Point on 10th
Avenue. My most popular class (I thought Vancouver was supposed to be terribly
repressed) was called The Contemporary Portrait Nude.
The idea of the portrait nude came to me when in the very
early 80s I obtained a good contract job for Air Canada Public Relations (also for Canadian Pacific Limited).
The man in charge at Air Canada, Harry Atterton told me, “I don’t care if you photograph
airplanes or other stuff for us as long as you always include the humanity of
it – even if it is only a shoe.” I never forgot that advice. Even when I shoot
nudes or teach my students how to go about this I stress the idea of the face
and the humanity, even if the face is not in the shot. As long as you remember
the face, the photograph will have content and depth.
In my classes I often told that the idea of a wall (or
backdrop), a model (I prefer the term subject), a camera, lights and you ( much
like those once popular layered Jell-O of many colours) were a recipe for a boring disaster. It was
important to have some sort of concept or idea before shooting. Thinking about
it at night, in bed, a night before could work well. And in the studio those
moments when you told your subject to rest were the moments when you watched
your subject’s movements for ideas.
When I would tell my students, “We are now going to do
wall shots,” they were often surprised.
They soon found out as my Linda Lorenzo "pared" shot here
attests, that a wall can be a lot less than boring.
Rear Window - The Entering Takes Away
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
I had been hungry all the years;
My noon had come, to dine;
I, trembling, drew the table near,
And touched the curious wine.
Hunger - Emily Dickinson
'T was this on tables I had seen,
When turning, hungry, lone,
I looked in windows, for the wealth
I could not hope to own.
I did not know the ample bread,
'T was so unlike the crumb
The birds and I had often shared
In Nature's dining-room.
The plenty hurt me, 't was so new,
Myself felt ill and odd,
As berry of a mountain bush
Transplanted to the road.
Nor was I hungry; so I found
That hunger was a way
Of persons outside windows,
The entering takes away.
This month until Thursday 21 when the Arts Umbrella Dance
Company will have its Season Finale (21, 22 and 23) at the Playhouse you might
want to linger by the rear window of the Arts Umbrella building on Granville
Island. The window is by the pay parking. Particularly on Wednesdays around 5
or Sundays beginning at 12:30 you will see through the window rehearsals of the
Senior Dance Company, the Apprentice Dance Company and others going through the
moves (some from beginning to end) of the dances by many of the world’s best
choreographers. You might not be able to listen in to the Zen-like instructions
by Artistic Director Arty Gordon and her assistant Lynn Sheppard. Or you might.
I believe that this is a very well kept secret. I feel
smug that I have connections and I don’t have to look through the window. I am
Said Death to Passion
We Wear the Mask That Grins And Lies
It was not death for I stood alone
The Music in the Violin Does Not Emerge Alone
I tend my flowers for thee
Lavinia Norcross Dickinson
Pray gather me anemone!
Ample make her bed
His caravan of red
Me-come! My dazzled face
Develops pearl and weed
But peers beyond her mesh
Surgeons must be very careful
Water is taught by thirst
I could not prove that years had feet
April played her fiddle
A violin in Baize replaced
I think the longest hour
The spirit lasts