A Stanley Park Rape, Bill Evans, a Cop & a Methadone ClinicTuesday, January 01, 2019
There are those who say that good skiing is better than sex. I beg to differ.
Better than anything is to be given a manuscript and asked to illustrate it, all to be done with definite parameters and in a short period of time.
Malcolm Parry, my friend and former Vancouver Magazine Editor, told me many times that working on a winter issue of the magazine that would have a skiing cover was readership death. I never shot a skiing cover for him.
He told me many times that putting an animal on a cover was readership death. I was assigned in different years to photograph my cat and my doctor’s blue (not for long) Chow puppy. I never enquired about the popularity of those issues.
But there was one Vancouver Magazine cover, September 1980, that has been one of my favourites. More than anything the cover shot and very big two-page spread (of the same shot) arose from conflicting views on how it was to be done.
Rick Staehling gave me the manuscript and said that I should find some young woman to run in Stanley Park. He suggested I use a long telephoto lens to give the impression of someone spying from afar or behind a tree. I chose a different one.
I decided that an extreme wide angle, a 20mm on my Pentax Spotmatic-F panned at 1/15th of a second, with me being very close it would make it seem like the rapist was about to pounce.
I waited for almost a month ( the anticipation was part of the pleasure of shooting for a magazine cover) and was most pleasantly surprised by the technique that Staehling used of putting the photo small on the cover surrounded by the copy of the first paragraph of the article.
The woman in the picture I believe was called Lorrie. She had reddish hair and was an absolutely beautiful ecdysiast. When possible I would use ecdysiasts as models for my magazine assignments as the magazine would pay them rather well. Lorrie was one of the faves of travel writer Gary Marchant who when not in Antactica or in Namibia would ask me if Lorrie was dancing.
I found out about Lorrie’s previous life to 1980 from her friend (and partner for a time) Steven Drake an American-born, Vancouver musician and virtuoso electric guitar player who now free-lances and produces records.
It is difficult for me to explain that I do not believe in having lots of patience to wait for the decisive moment. This is why I dislike street photography. In my magazine work the decisive moment only happened when I looked through my camera at my subject and I knew I had the shot and I could quit. This process beats sex and skiing.
Sometime in the late 70s Lorrie lived in Los Angeles. Her boyfriend at the time was pianist Bill Evans. When he was in his last legs he had to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. His friends, Drake’s parents were to drive him to the concert. But there was a problem. Evans needed a methadone fix. He did not want to play. The Drakes insisted and decided to look for a methadone clinic in LA that would prescribe Evans the drug. They went to many and they were soundly rebuffed. Finally they found one. Evans got his fix. By this time there was almost no time to get to the concert. Traffic was terrible. Mr. Drake sped when he could until he was stopped by a policeman. They explained to the policeman the problem. The cop told them to follow him and with lights sirens going full blast they got to the concert on time.