A Muse? No, Much BetterMonday, May 28, 2018
|Left, Bronwen, right Nahui Olin by Edward Weston|
In my past as a photography teacher I have told my students that the Holy Grail of the medium is to develop a personal style. One of the ways to achieve that is to imitate favourite photographers until one finds a fit that is similar but unique to one’s own. Slowly once this happens the personal style emerges.
In this blog I have examples on how Picasso imitated famous paintings but made them in his inimitable style.
Sometimes one does not need to imitate a photograph exactly. If it is done in the spirit of that original image the secondary version can be unique, too.
In my search for that personal style I have found out that a photograph that looked easy to copy was not so. A few years ago I inherited a Leica IIIF. This was the camera that Cartier-Bresson used for many years. The camera is a dog. It is hard to load and hard to frame. I developed a renewed respect for the man after failing many times with the Leica. The picture below I took with the Leica a few years ago.
|Bronwen - Leica IIIF|
A couple of months ago while in Mérida with my wife Rosemary I spotted the book seen here about an intriguing painter and model called Nahui Olin. I was instantly hit by a nostalgia for the Mexico I live in the 50s and early 70s.
In vain I looked for a woman in Vancouver that would pose for me. Finally my friend Bronwen indicated she was going to.
My attempt of duplicating Edward Weston’s photograph of Nahui Olin was not to be. Perhaps I was not high enough to shoot down or my little studio is just too small. But what emerged were photographs that pleased me and even excited me. They are variants of Weston’s but they are done in my style.
If I can lure Bronwen to return soon perhaps I will not be so rough around the edges and take some better photographs.
Bronwen has posed for me now for some years. My file of her is thick (I showed it to her and she was amazed). She was quick to remind me when I clamped my iPhone3G to the tripod that I had taken a whole series of her with it when the phone was new and cutting edge.
I believe that the photographs here are a true colaboración ( I like the sound of the word in Spanish) between us that happens because communication (of the verbal kind) is minimal. We know how to work together.
Because this is the 21st century I wonder if the word muse is no longer appropriate. It seems to define inspiration as being of the female kind. Is there some word that I could use that would not be gender spicific? Whatever word that may be, Bronwen inspires me to excellence.