The Georgia Straight's Deep BenchMonday, May 08, 2017
|Illustration by Cory Van Ieperen
Recently I purchased a lovely Microsoft Surface device for $1500. I splurged because a photo editor in New York City offered me that sum for a photograph I took years ago of Robbie Robertson smoking an H. Upmann.
Also once writer Sean Rossiter called me up and told me, “I have taken the liberty of telling Jane to go to your studio to pose for you. It could be a good idea.”
Thanks to the Georgia Straight who originally assigned me to photograph Robertson I have this little computer with which I will soon (when I figure it out) be able to write emails in longhand.
The Jane, Rossiter asked me to photograph (the photograph was never used in Vancouver) was of urbanist Jane Jacobs. Five years ago the Rockefeller Foundation paid me four grand (US) to use one of the photographs for their yearly Jane Jacobs Prize.
And my photograph of Martin Scorsese (for the Straight) brought me three grand for the makers of the Ebert documentary.
In short, the Georgia Straight has nurtured the career of many (and mine) in its 50 years of existence.
The Straight grandly celebrated this this past Friday.
Today Saturday, in what has been a constant, the Vancouver Sun chose to ignore this most extraordinary event. Even my friend Malcolm (Mac to the old ones like me) made no mention of it in his gossip column.
Just as an example is the fact that one of the few writers I respect and read in my thinnish Vancouver Sun is that of Terry Glavin, who wrote for the Straight.
In fact for many years the Vancouver Sun and the Straight (before the advent of the “provided photograph” by arts organizations) competed in that realm that was original illustration and photography. Now a Ballet BC photograph in every publication (few they are) announcing the latest opening will feature the same photograph.
In spite of the way journalism is headed toward (oblivion?) the Straight manages to hang on. And they seem to do this with smiles on their faces.
These smiles were in universal evidence yesterday at their party in their headquarters on Fir and West Broadway.
One of the most amazing things about this event is that the normally taciturn, Editor/Owner/Publisher Dan McLeod gave a speech that lasted 3 minutes and 45 seconds (I timed it!). Heather Deal presented the man with a nicely framed proclamation from our Mayor who could not make it to the event because his bicycle had a flat.
That the Straight had to do this in isolation from other media (I believe that our taciturn McLeod turned down a CBC interview and passed on the task to Editor Charlie Smith) is a shame.
In the political polirization of my Argentina and to a lesser extent in the US, one side of political spectrum wants the other to fail at the expense of the country.
In Vancouver we should do everything possible to keep our print media going. I do my part with my now, at least 35 year-old subscription to the Vancouver Sun.
As I navigated the Georgia Straight room I passed through the ghosts of friends, a few real people that I know, and a slew of young men and women with a face of excitement that most of us may have had at one time. It is my hope that these young ones must know how deep that bench of talent that the Straight has been and is and accordingly they will protect that.
In a totally unrelated matter I believe that I may have been the photographer to have shot the most covers for the Straight. Martin Dunphy, the man who knows how to cross his Ts can you corroborate this?
I am delighted by the illustration of me by CoryVan Ieperen and the photos taken at the ImageCube. As for the beer which is supposed to be very good I will leave it unopend as a souvenir. of the event.