High Heels - NotSunday, December 17, 2017
“The core of my work is dedicated not to pleasing women but to pleasing men.”
In my Sunday NY Times I read Bonnie Wertheim’s essay Are High Heels Headed for a Tumble?
I read it closely with a sigh and at the same time I agreed with Wertheim that pumps should disappear with Kool cigarettes [my comparison not hers].
After almost 50 years of being married to my proto-feminist Rosemary I wince looking at women, particularly very young ones trying to navigate a sidewalk with very high heels. Perhaps the origin of the expression “well heeled” comes from the 19th century when only the very rich could afford good shoes.
As I read the essay I wondered if the coinage of the words feminine and masculine have somehow been degraded or modified or iliminated with pink or blue baby's rooms.
It was several years ago that the Editor of Books in Canada called me up and asked me, “How would you like to photograph a 6ft tall lesbian?”
The Lesbian in question was Jane Rule. I did not know what to expect when she showed up at my studio. Rule charmed me. The pictures I took of her were favourites. The reason for the session was that she was retiring from writing because of her terrible arthritis. She could no longer write. Her fingers were shot. As she was about to leave she asked me if I could flag a cab for her downstairs and if I could help her go down the stairs. I was doubly charmed. I felt like a gentleman helping a woman (no possible use of that 20th century expression lady here!).
With the advent of the Me Too movement I even question if my strong soliciting of women to pose for me might not be now seen as harassment.
A couple of years ago for the Georgia Straight’s Fall Arts Preview I had to photograph two dancers. One was very tall and very beautiful the other very short. I attempted to convince the tall dancer not to wear heels so as not to diminish the stature of the short dancer. The short dancer was Chinese so I wrote to her if she might not want to wear jades for one of the two shots (one in elegant clothing, the other in dance stuff). After the pictures were taken she criticized me for being sexist and racist. To make it all worse for the cover shot (both in dance clothing) she came dressed as a very pink vagina. I was not about to argue with her or point out to her that the real term was vulva.
That shoot finally convinced me to abandon my last paying job in Vancouver which was the Straight’s Fall Arts Preview. I turned down the last one.
The world, my world to be exact, is changing to the point that I listen, over and over, to my friend Abraham Rogatnick who died five years ago. He told me a couple of times before he died, “I am not long for this world and I am glad for it.”
At the same time the idea of a woman having her cigarette
lit by a man on his lips or the idea that high heels are sexy have had their
|Yuliya & her Louboutins|
In my search for the exploration of eros these things of the past make it an interesting challenge for the next while, for as long as I breathe and can press the shutter button.
But please don’t take fish net stockings away!