The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.Tuesday, August 07, 2018
I am often asked a double-barrelled question when people find out I am a photographer.
One of them is, “Who is the most famous person you have photographed?”
The problem with answering the above is that in my years as a photographer many of the celebrities are now dead. Or in cases like Liv Ullmann I may be asked, “Who’s she?” No I have never photographed any of the Kardashians.
The second question is this one, “Which is your favourite photograph?”
That one is difficult to answer without using the word “depends”. It is the same as asking me which is my favourite rose in the garden. It could be one that is in bloom or one that bloomed.
In this 21st century, since I am a product of that last one, I miss the style of photographers like Helmut Newton and RichardAvedon. Now with the millions of photographs taken every day I rarely see one that I like or one where I can identify the photographer.
The hardest aspect of photography is to have a personal style that is identifiable by others. That was not so hard to accomplish in the 20th century. Now it is truly hard to stand out in that crowd.
I adored and admired Helmut Newton’s approach to the erotic. For me even though in that past century his photographs sometimes shocked (they would not do so now) I could discern an elegance and subtlety that is now nonexistent.
Newton was famous (to me!) for closeting himself in a Parisian hotel room and taking photographs of beautiful women. My faves are the ones he took of Charlotte Rampling.
Here in Vancouver as a struggling free-lance magazine photographer in the 80s and 90s the closest I could get to Newton was to photograph beautiful women in sleazy hotel rooms. My sleazy hotel of choice was the Marble Arch on Richards Street.
One woman in particular, Claire Love (she now resides in France) was easy to photograph in that hotel. I have many good photographs of her. But there is one that is special for me. It is special and yet today I notice I shot it twice!
There is something erotic about a woman wearing a bra and no lower underwear.
I was not hindered by lights and I was shooting (as they say) from the hip with a Nikon FM-2 and Kodak TMZ 5054 ISO 3200 film. Looking at these pictures again gives me nostalgia for doing this again and soon.
Not soon after I took this (these two) I immediately connected the image to the first sentence/paragraph of William Gibson’s Neuromancer:
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.