French CookingSunday, May 28, 2017
|El Trapo Negro - Manuel Álvarez Bravo - 1984|
Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002) took the photograph El Trapo Negro in 1984. He was 82.
When I look at this photograph to me it is a portrait of woman who is proud of who and what she is. She has grace and strength. I can smell dry earth and perhaps of tortillas on a comal. I have no idea why Bravo would use the word trapo which means rag or something you would use to clean a dirty floor. To me it looks more like the black rebozos (cheap ones they are) that many Mexican women wear for daily use.
I am about to be 75 and this photograph and the fact that Bravo was 82 when he took it means that not is all lost in what remains of my future.
These days (and for some years now) I am quite obsessed with the idea of taking erotic photographs. Since I am interested only in women this means that I take photographs of women to explore eroticism.
El Trapo Negro is I believe one of the most erotic photographs ever taken that at the same time shows a respect for a woman as an individual and as a human being.
In the late 60s on a trip with my new wife to San Francisco I told her to stay I the hotel room and that I was going to see a dirty movie called Deep Throat. I had never seen one before and this one also became the last one I ever saw. Particularly off-putting were two gentlemen in front of me who were loudly munching their popcorn.
I told my Rosemary when I returned to the hotel (the very nice St. Francis) that I would become impotent if I saw more films like that one.
In a book I have long lost I read that there was a fundamental difference between the way the French and Americans cooked. The French in their recipes are never precise (a pinch of this or that) and never precise on, as an example, the temperature of an oven. They might suggest cook in a hot oven until done. Americans, (and perhaps we Canadians) demand exact amounts and oven temperatures and times that are inflexible.
It seems to me that the French approach to cooking is the same approach to having sex. We in North America are obsessed with positions and formulas for sexual success.
Which brings me to my Medium (in particular reference to the so-called erotic stories that seem to fall in my feed (why?). These stories use words like cock, and pussy and clit and fuck. The use of such words does not make a story erotic. None of these tales (ha!) turn my crank. Could it be my age, or it simply that these stories eschew elegance, subtlety and good taste?