Jo-Ann & My Hollywood Scoop Light
Saturday, February 20, 2016
I have this very large light that I call my Hollywood
scoop light. It may have been used as such a thing many years ago. It has a
huge light bulb that resembles an ordinary incandescent on steroids. When I
turn it on it is very hot. It currently does not fit in my small Kitsilano
studio so I store it up in the studio attic. Since it is balanced for film lighting it is rated at 3200 degrees Kelvin.
Even though I have owned it for at least 20 years I have
only used it once. Illustrating this short blog is my former once-a-month
Thursday girl Jo-Ann who is now a psychiatric nurse.
Friday, February 19, 2016
Yuliya and Jo-Ann are friends. One is a professional
dominatrix. I asked them to come to my studio with the idea that we would make
viewers of the pictures guess who was the dominatrix and who was not. I took
several exposures and some I cannot show here (called wit of omission in
literary circles). In any case I love these three because no matter what your
guess might be it is plainly evident that they are friends.
I consider myself awfully lucky to have been able and to
still be able to perform these visual experiments with my camera.
P.K. Page - Ecology
Thursday, February 18, 2016
If a boy
eats and Apple
because a bee
because a boy
eats an apple?
If A Little Pixillated
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
|Photographs - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward|
It was hot last night, and as I brewed myself a
refreshing pot of tea, I reflected that without tea
and alcohol the human race would probably have
perished of its own filthiness centuries ago. Our
modern supplies of cleansing water are a
thing of the last sixty or seventy years, before that
time water was so unspeakably polluted that
nobody in his right senses drank the stuff, and used
it for washing only with the greatest caution. The
nations of the East preserved themselves by
drinking beverages in which the antiseptic herbs had
been boiled; the nations of the West drank enough
alcohol in one form or another to keep themselves
reasonably pure, if a little pixillated. Even today
alcohol is the great sterilizer, and water is used only
it it has been boiled. I pondered on mankind’s debt
to booze for a while, and then pensively added a
noggin of rum to my tea, just to make sure that I
came to no harm.
Jane Rule's Brownies
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
These are the brownies that Jane Rule used to
dole out to the kids around her swimming pool
on Galiano Island, B.C.
4 oz unsweetened
1 cup walnut
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
1 Sift the sugar
and set aside.
2 Over hot water,
melt the chocolate and
butter and set
3 Beat the eggs
until light and frothy, add
gradually add the sifted sugar.
4 Fold the mixture
into the melted chocolate
and add the
5 Stir in the
flour and combine well. Fold in
6 Bake in a
greased 9” x 13” pan at 325 degrees for
7. Cool, then cut into squares.
The CanLit Foodbook
Compiled and Illustrated by Margaret Atwood- 1987
A Boundary of Decency
Monday, February 15, 2016
The 21st century is full of new words that baffle me, make
me laugh. There are expressions that I dislike such as the constant use by CNN
and MSNBC of “breaking news” in which micro-changes in the news are recorded
every few minutes if not seconds.
There is one expression (once used to stress one’s inability
to proceed because the situation is futile) that thankfully is now
infrequent. This was the one heard when
you went to the bank and faced a bank teller. Does anybody go to a brick and
mortar bank anymore? The expression was, “ We are very sorry but our computers
In my area of photography particularly in those on-line
modeling sites there is this thing called “implied nude”. What it means is that
you might look at a photograph and know that the model in question is not
wearing anything. But since you cannot see anything (those bits!) it is an
Some of my friends are attempting to fight the standards
of facebook that prohibit female nipples in photographs but allow them in paintings
and sculptures. I have a local photographer friend who is constantly being put
into facebook’s version of a hockey penalty in the box. He gets bumped off. He
comes back to have facebook take him out again.
Some of the best photographs I have ever taken in my life
as a photographer I choose not to insert in my blog. I have my own ideas of
what my blog should be and those pictures I cannot or do not place here perhaps
someday might be seen at a gallery - or not. I find it all irrelevant. The
taking of the photograph is what is important.
Members of my family think I am a pornographer and my
Rosemary has “la paciencia del santo” and tolerates my penchant for the
undraped female figure snaps. She knows I behave.
As a fanciful experiment I will illustrate this blog with
what surely must be considered to be an implied nude. Does anything show?
El Mar Dulce, Water, Bernard The Plumber, God & Vancouver Rain
Sunday, February 14, 2016
21, 10 days before we moved to our new Kitsilano home our basement flooded.
With that awful occurrence almost in distant memory I have been reflecting on
how water and I have shared 73 years.
I have no
memory of that first splash of water at my christening sometime in the end of
1942 in Buenos Aires. I know that my godmother Inesita O’Reilly and Alejandro
Ariosa, my grandparents must have held me.
I may have
been around 6 when from my vantage point inside a tub of hot water I watched my
mother hold a little glass cup (I remember it was green) into her eyes. My guess is that she was removing her
eyes one at a time and washing them
clean. Soon after I turned on the valve on a strange contraption in the
bathroom and water shot up to the ceiling. I received a whipping with a
Filipino slipper (chinela) from my mother.
By age 8 I
was aware of the seasons in Buenos Aires and I looked forward to the winds from
the Pampas called the Pampero. The wind would bring rain and immediately I
could smell that special fragrance of wet earth. When it really poured our giant
brown poodle, Moro would run back and forth in the patio and slide and splash.
Buenos Aires summers that came in January (and there was no school) I was sent
to the “camp”. My favourite one was an estancia owned by a family called the
Piñeiros. When I returned I brought with me a lovely tero or South American plover.
It stood guard in our garden with two sharp spikes on the inside of its wings.
But during a storm Moro ran after my tero and broke its wings. I cried and
cried until my grandmother Lolita told me that every time I cried I would lose
one eyelash and if I persisted I would find myself with none.
Aires is known for its persistent rain. A garúa is a steady drizzle and when
the sky breaks loose we call it a chaparrón.
my mother, my first cousin Wenceslao, my uncle Tony and his wife Sarita
traveled up the Paraná River in a stern paddle steamer. The Paraná which comes
from Brazil is deep chocolate brown. It is full of rich silt which is deposited
in the pampas in floods and by the time it reaches the River Plate the delta it
has formed is rich land for fruit and vegetables. But going up the Paraná to
Goya in the Province of Corrientes was and exciting thing in itself. We could
see yacarés (the Guaraní name of alligators. When we arrived at Goya we went in
a Studebaker truck to Wency’s aunt’s estancia, Santa Teresita which was by the
Río Corrientes. It took a gaucho on horseback one day to cross the estancia. We
had pleasant swims in the Río Corrientes but only after a man on horseback
would splash around the river bank. We were told this scared off the pirañas as
they did not like the smell of horses. Of special memory was the lowering of a watermelon into the cold water of a well as Wency and I had our siesta during the afternoon of sweltering heat.
Buenos Aires, particularly in the winter can be depressing. For me this was the
case in the winter of 1966 when my Argentine girlfriend, Susana, dumped me for
a violinist of the Teatro Colón Symphony. For days I listened to Miles Davis
Kind of Blue as it seemed I enjoyed really being depressed. Somehow Davis’s
jazz soothed me into oblivion.
When my 24
month stint as a conscript ended I boarded an Argentine Merchant Marine ship,
Rio Aguapey. For almost three months we stopped at every port in Brazil, ports
in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Houston and finally my home in Veracruz. All those
days I watched and studied the colour of the sea. When we crossed the equator I
was tied to a yard arm and soaked with sea water. When it rained it was curious
to me that the rain was sweet. The first explorers to what was to be Argentina
in the 16th century called the River Plate Mar Dulce (or sweet sea).
In 1953 my
mother made an exploratory trip to Mexico City (we moved there in 1954). She
described the city as being one surrounded by mountains and two volcanoes. Summer
coincided with the rainy season (winter in Mexico City is without rain and the
mountains turn ochre). She described the rain as being punctual around 4 in the
afternoon and two hours later the sun would come out.
By the time
my Canadian wife Rosemary and two daughters Ale and Hilary left for Vancouver in
1975 rain in Mexico City had no season or schedule. My friend poet, novelist
and environmentalist Homero Aridjis says that Mexico City has only one season and he calls it
the pollution season. By the late 80s birds would fall from the sky. Rain would
mix with the hydrogen sulfide in the air and precipitate as sulfurous acid some
of which would further convert into sulfuric acid. Car paint unless properly
protected with constant waxing would fade. The persistent drizzle that sometimes happens in Mexico City is called chipi-chipi. Since I can remember the Mexican man prefers to get wet and not carry and umbrella. The umbrella is seen as a dandy-type-of-thing that does not go well with the macho complex.
to visit friends in Seattle on our way to Vancouver in our Arctic blue VW Beetle.
We were told that it rained 366 days of the year in Vancouver. I thought this
was a strange joke.
Vancouver I soon learned that I could wash my b+w negative and hang them to dry
and that they would be free of spots. Ditto when I washed our car. In Mexico
cars are wiped down after a car wash. I believe that Vancouver tap water is one of the best anywhere - there are never any problems with shampoo and good tea is better here than with London's terrible water.
To this day
I cannot get used to Vancouver rain. In many ways it alienates me but I do
understand that it helps keep our city clean. I have memory of dust storms
coming from the dry Texcoco Lake bed. Shanty towns without running water would
result in fecal matter being present in what we thought were clean
family and friends from abroad ask me about Vancouver I tell them we have three
outstanding features at a premium in most of the rest of the world. They are
air, space and water.
basement flooded and my daughter Ale and I were sloshing around saving stuff from
my darkroom I knew there was only one solution. We called a plumber (his name
was Bernard). When I saw him I told him that he was only second to God in importance
at that moment. I told him he would not part the Red Sea like Moses (with God’s
help) but that he would turn off the valve between the city and our house. The
For 10 days
we had no water even to brush our teeth. Our neighbour kindly passed a hose to
our side and we used it to fill buckets which I carted upstairs so we could
flush toilets. It was hell.
Even now in
this new house I marvel every time I open the kitchen sink tap or run my bath.
Best of all, the tub here does not leak and I can even run water up to my neck.
I am presently enjoying water in very much the Romans of the Roman Empire
enjoyed. I had forgotten all that in those last 10 days in Athlone.