The Hot Tub & CarletonSunday, June 23, 2019
Not too long ago I asked my Argentine rugby-playing nephew Georgito why it was that there were so many large ads in Buenos Aires featuring women in bikinis flogging toothpaste. He looked at me incredulously and asked me, “Are you gay?” I am sure that it was all in jest but it is difficult for me to fathom how I would explain to my ultra Roman Catholic family in Buenos Aires of the events related to all the genders (a new one every day) that are happening right now right here. He would not understand that the rainbow of yore has been re-possessed.
Most of my life I have been a naïve kind of person. Most stuff goes over my head. When my pioneering-spirited Rosemary suggested in 1975 that we move to Vancouver I told her I would become a photographer in our new city. On our way to Vancouver in our VW Beetle we stopped in Disneyland. I dropped Rosemary with our two daughters Ale and Hilary and I drove off to a large camera store where I splurged on equipment.
In Vancouver finding a job as a photographer. I remember going to London Drugs attempting to get a job there at the camera counter. The manager asked me what I was. I answered, “I am a portraitist.” Raising his voice he told me,”I went to Carleton and I don’t call myself that!”
So for a couple of years I washed and rented cars at Tilden-Rent-A-Car. As I attempted to improve the quality of my photography I was hampered by not having purchased lights in Los Angeles. A gay weekly publication called Bi-Line came to the rescue.
With a pile of Bi-Lines this naïve guy went to our Burnaby Bank of Montreal on Willingdon and Hastings to borrow money for the equipment. The dour, grey haired older woman of Scottish heritage was the lending officer. She asked me for collateral. I put a pile of Bi-Lines on her desk. She leafed through them (lots of male nudes and pictures of drag queens) and said, “You seem to be good. How much money do you need?”
The pictures you see here (fixed as to not offend the higher authorities) I took for a Bi-Line spread in which I had no idea of what I was doing and that as a product of those times you might perhaps understand as to why those skis are there. The couple (who obviously had nothing in common) might have skied all day and were now relaxing in a hot tub with drinks. The young man was not too interested in the large breasted woman so he preferred to read an issue of Bi-Line with my cover shot.
The cover shot was a picture of a beautiful young blonde male dancer languidly resting on a tree limb upside down. He was supposed to be Adam. Eve (now lives in Italy) was nearby, but she was soon replaced by a handsome, dark-haired young man. The story was an essay on the possibility that an alternate paradise was the real thing.
I look at these photographs and I don’t cringe. I smile. They may be in bad taste and my only excuse was complete ignorance. But at the same time they are a portrayal of events in the late 70s that would eventually propel us all into this 21st century.