A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.
My Two Fave Clarinetists
Saturday, January 06, 2018
In Vancouver, a city with a poor memory for what came before,
I try to use my blog as a place to keep my memories alive and perhaps even jar
others into realizing this tragedy.
It was on December 31st 2015 that bandleader, clarinettist
and saxophonist Dal Richards died at age 97. Until his last breath, except for being a
little hard at hearing this lively and cheerful man was a delight to talk to
and particularly to sit next to him at a theatre opening or concert. It was in
a couple of them that he happened to meet my youngest daughter Lauren (now 15).
Who knows if my stories on how Richards’s first instrument
was the clarinet may have persuaded Lauren to pick the clarinet as her instrument
of choice in her high school band. We have gone to many of these concerts and
she does very well with the instrument which is not an easy one to play.
I learned to play the alto saxophone for my school band and
I noticed when I tried to play a clarinet that if one wasn’t careful several
notes would come out of the clarinet if you did not blow as required.
Richards on any time that I might run into him would
invariably tell me that the picture that I took of him was the best ever.
Dallas Murray Richards, 97, Lauren Elizabeth Stewart, 12, April 11, 2015
It is a pleasure to gang up these two pictures. I
photographed Lauren on January 6, 2017. We tried to make the picture be in the
spirit of the one of Dal Richards. It seems that I have thrown away all my
white shirts. When I spied the T-shirt in an armoire where we keep family
heirlooms I thought that it was perfect. It features Lauren’s mother Hilary
(our daughter) when she posed for a Children’s Festival poster so many years
As for Lauren who is a serious dancer doing the full program
at Arts Umbrella the fact that she maintains her interest in the clarinet and
playing for her school’s orchestra makes me very proud.
wife was watching the Golden Globes I wrote up a few blogs and retired to our
comfortable bed to share some quiet time with our cat, Casi-Casi. As things now
happen in this century it was too much idle time. I had finished Jerome Charyn’s
Winter Warning the previous day and I was not yet ready to start a new book.
inevitably I went to my phone to check up on Trump on CNN. I spotted a page
mentioning January concerts featuring guitar player Stephen Fearing. I noticed
that his special guest is Oh Susanna which is the musical name of Vancouver
native Suzie Ungerleider. I had suspicions.
In my files
I found: Ungerleider, Suzzie – December 2000.
almost no recollection of the shoot and I have particularly no idea why I
photographed Ungerleider with the toys and the bicycle on the lawn. Might I
have placed it there for effect? The horizontal version I shot with Kodak b+w
pleasantly surprised that Ungerleider has not only survived and flourished but
that her latest album A Girl in Teen City
is nominated for three Canadian Folk Music Awards!
Ungerleider and it has been so pleasant to find you again.
abraza a una mujer es Adán. La mujer es Eva.
sucede por primera vez.
He who embraces a woman is Adam. The woman is Eve.
Everything happens for the first time.
Jorge Luís Borges
These first days of the new year of 2018 are for me days
when I look back and try to see my way ahead.
Today I thought of 1979 when I
was working for a gay publication called Bi-Line. I was their chief
photographer and the only one. Even though I was new in the magazine game I had
to learn quickly as Bi-Line was a weekly the size of the Georgia Straight. Its
editor, Ron Langen assigned me to go to a forest in Surrey in the middle of
January to photograph two women and two men who would wear nothing. We went
prepared with a large bottle of brandy to help stifle the cold.
The idea was to convey through photographs (I had a brand
new Mamiya R-B67 and only one lens a 65mm which in the 6x7 cm format was close
to a 35mm 35 wide angle) an Adam and Eve with two Adams and two Eves. In the
end it was mostly about Adam, Adam and Eve. The photographs were (I was lucky)
quite beautiful but I can only place one here that I have cropped.
Even though I was living in Burnaby this job was an exciting
one. It meant I went to places like Faces, the Luv-A-Fair and many other gay
clubs and I saw a world that was completely new to me.
One of the Adams was a handsome (perhaps beautiful) blonde
ballet dancer and time has erased his name from my memory. I remember that he had
an easy smile and was soft-spoken. Langen made me take pictures of him as Santa
Claus. The one picture here is the only one that does not show the part that
I think that the Bi-Line experience (I photographed many
nude young men and a few beautiful women of exotic sexual persuasion, many drag
queens) prepared me to live in this 21st century without having to
feel shock at how the world has changed.
My only regret is that I did not right the name of the
blonde young apparition of a man. As for the woman, Maddalena , she became my
friend and she posed for me for many years. She now lives in Italy.
One pattern of the new year is that since I can remember
being dragged into the digital age by my friend Paul Leisz and Celia Duthie I
have been plagued byalmost with no exception
finding myself without internet in those days right after Christmas.
This was the case this year and it took Sherlockian (or is
that Holmesian?) investigation by Leisz, Benson at Powersonic Computers and of
Dhalia a Filipina tech support expert in Manila working on the behalf of Telus to get to the solution.
Sometime around the 26th I went to my computer
inside my oficina in what used to be the garage of our Kits Duplex and I was
unable to connect to anything.
The culprit, thanks to those three experts was a Telus home
router that was losing its ability to send a strong Wi-Fi signal from our piano
room all the way to my office.I had a
very efficient Asus Wi-Fi received that simply was not powerful enough to get
the signal. All three gurus recommended a more advanced Wi-Fi receiver equipped
with a USB connection.
The folks at Telus (very efficient) and Dhalia extraordinary
with her sense of detail have programmed a technician to come on Thursday to
investigate the status of our home router.
As a photographer I was always aware of Patterson’s Lawthat stipulated the Murphy was an optimist.
In all my years as a magazine photographer I always brought duplicate equipment of
everything (just in case).
And so Patterson has dictated that my Microsoft Surface
laptop would not charge and all I saw was a little red light. I took it to
Best-Buy today and Akbar (an Indonesian) and Edgar (a Filipino) solved the
problem that I thought was going to be expensive. Akbar pressed the on button
and kept it pressed. And the computer (he said this was a hard start (came to
My Galaxy A5 phone had a bothersome new glitch. When I would
attempt to answer an email I would get a box that said (ad infinitum) “loading
messages”. It seems that this problem occurred to others at around mid-December.
I believe the problem came about because of one of those feared updates. From
the internet I found out how to disable a feature in my Galaxy and the problem
So life at the Kits duplex is back to normal. Everything is
working. Rosemary is in bed with Casi-Casi planning our trip later this month
to New York City where we plant to see the Michelangelo exhibit at the Met and
to have dinner at the Algonquin with Jerome Charin and his new wife Lenore
Riegel. I want to make a special trip to that little old church in Wall Street
that is surrounded by towering skyscrapers and that in its tiny churchyard it
houses Alexander Hamilton’s grave.
In my extensive Katheryn Petersen files there is an envelope marked: In Studio III — José María — Katheryn’s friend. This cannot possibly be right. In Spanish the name José María is common for men and its inverse María José for women.
I have no memory as to where María (I will play this safe) was from or if she spoke Spanish. The only memory I have of her was that when she faced my camera she was inscrutable.
I wonder what may have happened to her? I can tell you that since (the early 90s) when I took this photograph Miss Petersen has become a virtuoso accordionist who has a yearly show called Accordion Noir.
The idea of previsualization is merely wonderful. The
practice of previsualization is the master key to expressive-creative
photography and Camerawork.
Few in this century would understand the term editorial
photographer or illustrator.
In that past century such a person would be shown (or couriered
or faxed) a manuscript for a magazine, newspaper article or perhaps an author
photograph for an upcoming book.
It would be here where reading the words would conjure in one’s
mind an image that would go hand in hand to make the published article one that
a person looking at the illustration would then be eager to read.
A specialized form of the above would be a magazine cover or
a first page newspaper article.
In my long career as a magazine photographer I can attest to
the thrill of using my imagination to illustrate an essay.
What this means is that I was forced to pre-conceive the
idea and then realize it graphically with my camera. Sometimes my original idea
would not fly so I would have to regroup. This whole process is what made it
all such a pleasure.
In my blog I had left a blank for January 1, 2017. I wanted
to look back after a few days of rumination on what to expect for this New Year.
I have found this. I first wrote about it here in an essay in Medium.com.
All I can add to it is that my little talent for a Minor
White preconception is alive and still well. Armed with it I may take a few
more interesting photographs this coming year.
Previsualization and the Development of Intuition
Photography serves all kinds of image-making talent in
mankind with an equality that almost amounts to a holy indifference. It does
not distinguish the sleeper from the transcendentalist; it serves the first
with its automatic mechanicalness, the second with its power to evoke the sense
of light in images. It gives the spark of creativity in anyone a fine chance to
grow. And from those people who have grown to love photography and master it
have come three psychological concepts: Equivalence (Alfred Stieglitz), Previsualiazation
(Edward Weston and Ansel Adams), and Response. (The latter sometimes goes under
the name of “reading photographs”.) These concepts give affirmation to
individuals who pursue consciousness and wakefulness by way of photography.
Zone System Manual – Previsualization – Exposure –
Development – Printing by Minor White 1968
Garry Marchant the Enthusiastic Traveler - 1941-2017
Sunday, December 31, 2017
One time, Vancouver Magazine editor Malcolm Parry (sometime
in the late 80s) threw a 20mm Pentax lens (mine) at me and told me, “You are
making the motions. Go back and do your job.”
Garry Marchant, 1941-2017, never made the motions of being a travel
writer. Even though Antarctica was one of the few places he had never gone to in
his travels, I can attest to the fact that he was always enthusiastic.
It was when Yugoslavia was still under the spell of Tito
(even though he had died in 1980), that I accompanied Marchant on an
all-expenses paid junket trip to that country. The purpose was for him to write
for his monthly Vancouver Magazine colum Far Away Places. In this case his
piece would be accompanied by my photographs.
It was one evening in Split that we journalists were having
a splendid dinner in a sidewalk restaurant. Marchant always made fun of the
fact that in every restaurant we ever went to we always found towering white,
heavily starched napkins resembling the Matterhorn on our plates.
Suddenly Marchant pushed his chair away and went
running to the corner. Ten minutes later he returned with a grin on his face, “I spotted a
woman walking a Dalmatian and after all we are on the Dalmatian Coast.”
And that was Marchant in action.
There is one story about him that I remember with glee. He had
been traveling in some obscure African country all day and he was exhausted
when he arrived at a hostel. He was also very hungry. Hanging in a fireplace
there was a big pot with stew. He observed and using his arms as wings he
gesticulated to the host. The host nodded positively. Marchant went at the
chicken stew. It was only later, when he was spooning it, that he found
remnants of a bat wing.
And few of us who are still alive (I called Mac Parry today
to inform him of Marchant’s death. I told him, “And then there were none,” to
which he instantly replied, “But some are left.”) can forget this article by Mati
Laansoo in which he and Marchant sampled the culinary pleasure of eating dog in
On the roof of Vancouver Magazine on Davie & Richards. Garry, left, Les Wiseman, right. Tiffany bottom left & Ruby top right
In this age of staring at our smart phones I can only but
remember Marchant and his enthusiasm for life, for food (except bats) and
Garry Marchant died in Vence, France on December 23.
Courtesy of Kerry McPhedran here is a link to a Garry Marchant talk about the second oldest profession.
Marchant's long-time partner Marnie has informed that Gary did get to Antarctica and that he managed to visit more than 260 countries.