The Photographer PhotographedSunday, December 11, 2016
As a photographer I do not understand these selfie times. I hate having my own photograph taken but when I do allow it I find it almost liberating not having to think how to compose the photograph. I just sit there but I am willing to take the instructions of the photographer. I do enjoy including myself sometimes when my subjects look into a mirror.
In the early 90s I received a phone call from friend writer William Gibson. He was all excited about a porn magazine called Future Sex. He told me that few could object to it at the editor was a woman and that her name was Lisa Palac. It seems that her boyfriend was the editor of a well regarded mens’style magazine. In short order I sold a portrait of Gibson for Issue 4 of the magazine for a story called Test Dicking the Force Feedback Vagina. I thought that would be my first and last contribution to a porn magazine. I received a phone call from Palac telling me that Gibson had informed her of my penchant for erotic photographs. She asked me to submit one. So, yes I have contributed twice (Issue 5) for that short-lived porn magazine.
|Future Sex - Issue 5|
As I get older I have not changed my focus on what I photograph. There is rarely a what and most often it is a who. My game is the photography of people.
I have lived in Canada since 1975 and because of it I find that I am politically correct when I can and when I shoot I think of the possible repercussions of my click. As an example of this Canadian attitude I can cite my trips to my native city of Buenos Aires and arguing with my nephews as to why there are still ads for toothpaste featuring young women in bikinis. The scoff at this and question my manhood!
Sometime in 2000 I participated in a three-person show featuring the female nude. Unlike the other two photographers my photographs showed the faces of the women. In Vancouver there is a tradition (I am ambivalent on it) of having a guest book for comments. I received several, “Thank you for showing us the faces.” It seems that many of the women of the time objected to the idea of objectifying a woman’s body by showing parts.
Now with the fierce advent of the internet and social media posting a nude on line and showing a face can have dire consequences. In the past those nudes ended up as contact sheets, slides or negatives in a file in a dark corner of the photographer’s home. That is now history although as I write this I am surrounded by many all-metal and old-fashioned file cabinets full of the photographic output of my life.
|Photograph - Juan Manuel Sánchez|
I have curiously thought of how as human beings we are wired for certain tendencies. Our built-in self-preservation makes suicide a difficult task for just about anybody. One must think what will push someone into that corner. The same goes with the idea of a man my age, 74, to look at anybody under 20 with Jimmy Carter’s lust in my heart. The body rebels on that.
Thus at this age of mine I am interested in the faces and bodies of women much older and closer to my own. It must be built-in, I believe.
I have as a man never understood fully man’s (as in the male of the human species) our almost obsession with a woman’s breasts and particularly with the empty space between them. I have cited before in other blogs that American photographer Bert Stern pioneered a special lighting combination to enhance cleavage for Cosmopolitan Magazine.
|With Juan Manuel Sánchez - Photograph - Nora Patrich|
I have never understood and more so now social media’s disapproval in showing female nipples while ignoring that of the male’s.I have explained before my suspicion that many men (as many as women) have or not have sensitivity in that area.I have a Vancouver friend, Vince Hemingson who places photographs of undraped women in Facebook and has a special tool he invented that whisks away those nasty nipples.
|Acapulco, Guerrero - Photograph taken by Acapulco Chief of the Federal Police Licenciado Felipe Ferrer Junco|
And going down to the paises bajos (the Lower Countries) as my grandmother called that body area below the belt I must confess that I don’t think I am the only man (as in the male of the species but at the same time understanding that a gay man may object) who sees the male sexual organ as something lacking in total beauty.
As a healthy male who admires beauty and elegance I think that one of the most beautiful objects is the ancient Chinese spoon. When I look at one now, I think that a Swedish designer might have gone back in time to create that marvelous streamlined shape. I think of the same of the female nether parts. I think that when swimming under water the woman presents a sleeker, less prone to water resistance than a man, particularly if the woman in question is daintily equipped above the waist.