M & Her Torn Fishnets
Saturday, June 02, 2018
M is a beautiful and very good dancer who lives in Quebec. She has legs that could launch a batallion of foot soldiers to seek oblivion. I took these photographs in 1999. I had a patient subject reclined on the psychiatric couch in my studio. I moved around with my big Mamiya RB-67 and its 140mm lens all on a heavy tripod. I instructed her to several poses. There was no protest. I really had not done this sort of thing before although I had always been dazzled by women wearing fishnet stockings especially if they were torn.
My guess is that I could never top these exposures. They were of the time and my subject was special and very intelligent in that receptive way that I had to say little but somehow would pose in those killer ways. In my little Kitsilano studio I would probably not achieve this sort of thing.
My initial intention was to write a blog that I was going to illustrate with women's legs on that psychiatric couch. I have many. I pulled the files out and when I saw M's I knew she was going to be the only one to make it.
Friday, June 01, 2018
|Rory Haye - June 1 2018 - iPhone3G|
A new friend.
Project Manager, The Glad Foundation SCIO thegladfoundation.co.uk
El Gato Feral
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
|Buenos Aires, La Recoleta 2016|
el gato que maúlla a la luna roja,
sus cinco sentidos quisiera adoptarme
llevarme a su casa para entretener a sus hijos
arrumacos, pellizcos y pesadillas.
el gato que anda solo, el gato feral,
onírico, el gato de pies ligeros
persigue sombras entre botellas rotas
rasguña el corazón de los que ama.
Two Poets & A Stuffed Raven
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
In my files I have found 9 exposures of a woman posing with
a book, a feather pen and a raven. I cannot remember her name. But I do recall
that I drove to the Raven Pub in North Van in the early 80s to borrow a stuffed
raven they had there.
Since I would like to place the photograph in a blog I
decided to connect the poet to another poet, Jorge Luís Borges in a beautiful
description by Roberto Bolaño who wrote of his visit to Borges’s tomb in
Geneva. At the cemetery of Plainpalais , Bolaño sits downs on a bench in front
of the tomb and writes (my translation):
I sit on a bench in
front of the tomb and a raven says something with a hoarse sound, not far from
me. A raven! It is as if I were not in Geneva but within a Poe poem.
Below is the full
account in Spanish
En el libro
de Roberto Bolaño, "Entre paréntesis", se puede leer en su página 144
el siguiente texto (de precioso título, todo hay que decirlo) a propósito de su
venerado Jorge Luis Borges:
"BORGES Y LOS CUERVOS
Ginebra y busco el cementerio en donde está enterrado Borges. La mañana es fría
y otoñal, aunque por el este se vislumbran unos cuantos rayos de sol que hacen
sonreír a los ginebrinos, gente obstinada y de gran tradición democrática. El
Plainpalais, el cementerio en donde está Borges, es el cementerio ideal: dan
ganas de venir aquí cada tarde a leer un libro, sentado delante de la tumba de
algún consejero de Estado. Más que un cementerio esto parece un parque, un
parque extremadamente cuidado hasta en sus más pequeños detalles. Cuando le
pregunto al sepulturero por la tumba de Borges, mira el suelo, mueve la cabeza
y me indica el lugar con palabras precisas. No hay forma de perderse. Por sus
palabras es fácil deducir que el tránsito de visitantes es continuo. Pero esta
mañana el cementerio está literalmente vacío. Y cuando por fin llego a la tumba
de Borges no hay nadie en los alrededores. Pienso en Calderón, pienso en los
románticos ingleses y alemanes, pienso en lo extraña que es la vida, o mejor dicho:
no pienso absolutamente nada. Sólo miro la tumba, la piedra grabada en donde
está escrito el nombre de Jorge Luis Borges, el año de su nacimiento, el año de
su muerte y un verso en lengua germánica. Y luego me siento en un banco que
está enfrente de la tumba y un cuervo dice algo, con un sonido ronco, a pocos
pasos de mí. ¡Un cuervo! Como si en lugar de estar en Ginebra estuviéramos en
un poema de Poe. Sólo entonces me doy cabal cuenta de que el cementerio está
lleno de cuervos, enormes cuervos negros que se suben a las lápidas o a las
ramas de los viejos árboles o que corren por el cuidado césped del cementerio
de Plainpalais. Y entonces siento ganas de caminar, de recorrer más tumbas, tal
vez con suerte pueda encontrar la de Calvino, y eso hago, cada vez más
inquieto, mientras los cuervos me siguen sin traspasar los límites estrictos
del cementerio, aunque supongo que alguno de vez en cuando sale volando de allí
y se va a posar en las orillas del Ródano o en las orillas del lago, para
contemplar a los cisnes y los patos, con algo de desdén, claro."
A Muse? No, Much Better
Monday, 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
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
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.
Pre-Concert Talk on Seymour & Smythe
Sunday, May 27, 2018
|Leslie Dala, Rory Haye & Graham Walker|
My friend graphic designer Graham Walker
and I were prepared
to attend a concert featuring a most interesting and difficult work by Steve
Reich at the Orpheum Annex on Seymour today. Alas! It was sold out. At the
queue before we turned away, we chatted with a tall freckled-faced Scotsman in town with his theater
troupe that is performing at Granville Island beginning tomorrow for the
On Sunday, May 27th,
from 7 p.m - 10 p.m., at the Orpheum Annex Theatre, the Vancouver public will
have a chance to enjoy a special production that features music by the most
famous living Jewish-American composer Steve Reich, his celebrated composition
TEHILLIM, and also see for the first
time in Vancouver, the academic exhibition traveling especially for this
occasion from the Bulgarian Embassy in Ottawa - "The Power of Civic Society
- Fate of the Jews in Bulgaria during 1940-1944".
This marks the 75th
anniversary of an important historical event- the salvation of the Bulgarian
Jews during WWII. Twenty four big tableaux tell the story of what happened!
On the program: Srul
Irving Glick, Paul Ben-Haim, Ernst Bloch, Maurice Ravel, Steve Reich.
Conductor: Les Dala
Definitely disappointed the three of us walked down
Seymour to Smythe. It was there that we noticed a police woman in a big black
van stop a young woman (with N in her rear bumper) driving the wrong way on
Smythe. It was then that a handsome slim man, all in black, walked toward us. It
was Leslie Dala
tonight's Musical Director of the evening’s performance at the
Orpheum Annex. I introduced him to Walker and our new friend Rory Haye.
Dala asked us if we could read music. Haye and Walker nodded
positively. Dala took out the music and started conducting what he called some
of the difficult parts of Tehillim. At one point he said something like, “If
you get distracted with this you can get fu….”
While we were disappointed at missing the concert we were
most impressed with our personal pre-concert talk.
On why Rory Haye is here in Vancouver:
The work is called Poggle and that is a most intriguing name.