The Vermilion Psychiatric CouchFriday, June 02, 2017
Until about 10 years ago, already into this century I had to let go of my very nice studio in downtown Vancouver. It suffered from that perennial “leaky tank” problem. With the decline of magazines, newspapers my editorial work had diminished to the point that money coming into the studio was not exceeding the money going out.
I closed it and got rid of lots of stuff I had amassed in the many years I had been there. There were big piles of telephone books that I used to make the photographs of short and tall lawyers look more uniform. There were all kinds of reflectors and their opposites big black ones. But my real sad quandary was the psychiatric couch.
Some years before I had been taking photographs of a lovely woman undraped and she told me, “If you are going to do more of this you need to find a loveseat or a sofa where we can lie on. I went downstairs and bought a newspaper. There was an ad that I believe read something like this:
Retiring psychiatrist is selling psychiatric couch for $100 -will deliver for $25.
I was the proud owner of a real psychiatric couch. It was heavy and it had a faded and worn out spot were the doctor’s patients rested their head. For the many (and there were many) photographs that I took with the couch I always had to drape a bed sheet, black satin or whatever to cover the faded spot.
How was I going to deal with this couch now? My son-in-law who had an old Toyota liftback told me the couch would fit in his car. We manhandled the unit into his car and brought it to our house on Athlone. It fit just right in the living room. I photographed my granddaughters on it and it served us well for some of our family Christmas portraits.
When we moved to our present location in Kitsilano here in Vancouver I knew exactly what I was going to do. I had the folks at Cook’s Upholstery take it away and I chose a beautiful vermilion. It is now in our piano room next to our 100 year-old Chickering baby grand which has a piano stool covered in the same material.