Elegance & Poise
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
When I first met Kay in 1978 she may have been 21. She was
wearing little clothing and ballerina slippers.
This year I had the luck to photograph her again. And yes,
she does not look like the girl I knew back in 1978. But there is a poise and
elegance that persists and somehow is amplified by her curly red hair.
I am so glad that I am a photographer, still alive to be
able to renew on film (or with a digital camera) a photographic relationship of
so many years.
Winter would stay its stress?
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
|Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum 'Pelee', December 4 2018|
All the flowers and plants I have scanned from my garden all
these years I have proudly considered that they were indeed from my garden. I
sometimes state that my roses, especially, communicate with me to inform me
that the critical moment has arrived for me to go after them with secateurs and
to scan them.
But here you see an exception. My Rosemary at this time of
the year manages to find reasons to go to garden centres. This we did. I was
struck by this Chrysanthemum x
grandiflorum 'Pelee' when I saw it and I told Rosemary, “We must buy it so
that I can scan it.”
It was not expensive at $12. It is definitely (at this time
of the year) an indoor plant. Some who read this might know that the
chrysanthemum is the symbol of Japan and that its inhabitants call their
kingdom (which it is) the Chrysanthemum Throne.
In these dark days of early December it is somewhat
pleasing to see all this white in this lovely flower.
The Last Chrysanthemum – Thomas Hardy
Why should this flower delay so long
To show its
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
When flowers are
in their tombs.
Through the slow summer, when the sun
Called to each
frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
Why did it not
It must have felt that fervid call
Although it took
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
And saps all
Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
The season's shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
Had it a reason for delay,
That for a bloom so delicately gay
stay its stress?
- I talk as if the thing were born
With sense to
work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
By the Great
Because We Can Revisited
Monday, December 03, 2018
When I posted this blog
with the accompanying photograph I
immediately had the impression that there was something untoward about it all.
My friend illustrator/designer/artist confirmed it when I broached the subject.
It was the showing of the monitor screen with all the Messenger bits (icons) at
the bottom and my face on the right with camera at eye-level that made it all
seem “dirty”. The voyeur element pehaps? I have no idea if the term “dirty pictures
” is still in use.
Today as I write this my photography friends are in an uproar because of this:
Some of my friends (younger than I am) are taking lovely
photographs of pristinely shaped women in a beach surrounded by sand and
driftwood. These are taken in black and white. As soon as bits like nipples
show up these photographers are banned by the social media in question for a
For me the exercise in protesting this kind of censorship is
both fruitless and irrelevant. I have known for years that somehow a painting
or a sculpture of a nude figure (within some limits) is never censored. For
years nobody could see in any book Balthus’s famous/infamous 1934 The Guitar
Lesson. The advent of the World Wide Webb ended that. If anybody has knowledge
of that painting they will be able to find it.
Another factor in this century is the ubiquity of
photographers and their photographs. When I took photographs of workers in
lumber mills for annual reports it was always my obligation to get their
permission via the now obsolete (is it?) photo release. I would understand why
some of the lovely women in non-sexual photographs might object to their
pictures appearing here or there particularly if they have secured good jobs as
teachers or politicians.
Another factor is that in the last century when people took
photographs nobody really saw them. I had a friend in that century whose wife
worked at a photo lab. The workers of the lab (inappropriately, that word so
much in vogue in our politically correct times) had a thick album with nude
photographs that they got from the processed film. It seems that all Canadian
men take at least one nude photograph in their life. This is a picture that
begins with, “Honey why don’t we put you in the tub and photograph you showing
our little baby in your stomach who is about to be born soon?” All these men
somehow had reached to a conclusion that they thought was unique!
I was able to see that album and all I could do was smile.
Most were badly taken snapshots that had charm in spades.
Any of those photographs if they were to be posted in social
media now would be censored.
I believe that no algorithm in these social media entities
would block my image. And yet I think that the photograph as opposed to those charming
baby about to be born pictures is far more explicit.
I do not post photographs in social media or in my blog
that show those bits that those algorithms are so keen on eliminating. My
photographs that do show those bits can only be seen in the light of day at a
gallery (not a chance in Vancouver!) or if I show them to friends.
A Survived November
Sunday, December 02, 2018
|Rosa 'Benjamin Britten' Dec 2 2018|
Logically to me November in Vancouver would be the ideal
time to contemplate and execute suicide. The days get suddenly darker. It
rains. It is cold and in the few days of sunlight there is no warmth.
Today is December 2 and the sun is at least shining. I
told my Rosemary that somehow we have survived another Vancouver November.
Even though Christmas without children (our youngest
granddaughter is 16) loses the excitement of presents being torn on Christmas
Eve, there are those bright lights and the sheer pleasure of thinking of and
buying presents for the family and friends.
But there are also the dark thoughts of the palpable presence
of those of the family and friends who are no longer around.
We are still in complete delight at staring at our brother
and sister cats (a happy orange and a clean white coat) Niño and Niña. They lie
on our bed acurricados a nice word in
Spanish that almost means to spoon. They are clean, well-behaved and most
affectionate. They have almost made us forget the terrible two weeks of a leak
in our kitchen that was finally fixed by a plumber who in a Sherlockian way
found the leak without tearing up the kitchen all that much.
A trip to Bellingham which featured staring at boxes of Kellogg’s
Spice-Pumpkin Frosted Flakes made it seem like in the USA their rainbow comes
in millions of colour, an over-choice that made me dizzy. I managed to leave
Fred Myers with only a sturdy Made in USA windshield scraper. Bellis Fair Mall
was empty and surely it cannot stay open. It would seem that is is an Amazon
While crossing the deck from the living room to my oficina I
spotted the single unompened bloom of the English Rose, Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’.
Unlike me it does not know that it had no chance of opening. But it soldiered
Perhaps there is a lesson there for me. I should stare at
myself in the mirror and attempt to smile.