The Woman In Red & Glenfiddich Scotch & SodasFriday, January 27, 2017
My friend, writer Les Wiseman and I worked together at Vancouver Magazine from the late 70s until sometime in the early 90s. We also did stuff for TV Guide while it had money to pay contributors.
Any time I write about our experiences Mr. Wiseman points out that my memory of things stretches strict and ethical journalism. My only defence, a two fold one, is that I am older than he is so my memory is spotty and that in fact I am not a journalist but a photographer. During our tenure at Vancouver Magazine a couple of writers (I will not name them even though if I did Mr. Wiseman would not question their validity) championed “creative non-fiction.”
What you may read below should be taken with a grain of salt.
In the last few days I have become obsessed in remembering in the middle of the night more photographs (for my blog here ) in my files of women with red lips. A last one was one whose name escaped me. If I cannot remember a name I cannot find the photographs in my files.
I appealed to Mr. Wiseman who instantly answered with his accurate journalistic memory that the woman in question was Cassandra Peterson better known as Elvira – Mistress of the Dark.
With the name in my head again I remembered the circumstances of how it was I took her photograph in 1987.
During those 80s Mr. Wiseman and I were often dispatched to media junkets that included paid hotel rooms in very good establishments. The idea was to lure us into writing and taking photographs that would then appear in Vancouver Magazine.
One of those junkets was a yearly trek to Whistler, BC for what was called (I believe!) the Whistler Celebrity Ski-athon. Mr. Wiseman, no great skier insisted on going with the every year promise from the organizers that Brooke Shields would attend (she never did even though the carrot was dangle many times).
In 1987 when we arrived at our Whistler hotel, Mr Wiseman suggested we seek the comfort of a good drink. We sat in the bar and a lovely woman came to us and with an “ah shucks” sort of voice told us she was new and from Newfoundland after we ordered or Scotch and sodas. I have to admit that what came to my head involved us taking advantage of a woman with a pure soul. I asked her if she could pour Glenfiddich into our drinks. She did not seem to understand what that was so I asked her to bring the bill with our drinks. When she did I noticed what I thought would be the case that we were being charged for a cheaper bar Scotch. You can imagine that we took advantage of this during our stay at the hotel. Some have criticized the cardinal sin of diluting Glenfiddich. My only defence is that indeed it makes a very good Scotch and soda.
The evening of that day (it could have been the next, I am not going to worry about the facts!) we were sitting at a table with a woman I had no idea who she was except that she was an apparition of beauty and sex. Her name was Elen Bry. When I took her pictures in b+w ,(Alas! none In colour) so I have no recollection if she wore red lipstick) using my Hollywood style pseudo George Hurrell lighting I had an uncomfortable time looking straight into her eyes.
Mr. Wiseman recalls (I am sure with exactitude) that I told Bry and subsequently embarrased us as we were not savvy journalists that we (both Wiseman and I) did not know who a woman in red was. She was sitting at another table.
I was able to photograph Elvira in colour and indeed she was wearing red lipstick.