F.W. Woolworth & Eva PerónTuesday, July 09, 2019
My grandmother María de los Dolores Reyes de Irureta Goyena (everybody called her Lolita and I called her Abue) made fun of people who would blurt out opinions on psychological issues. She would say, “Tiene un doctorado de F.W.Woolworth, “or “That person has a doctorate from F.W. Woolworth.”
So I wonder what she would make of this blog.
As a little boy in Buenos Aires we lived in a house with few rooms. Until I was 6, when they moved me to a room outside built for live-in cooks, I was privy to my mother’s toilette. Because Eva Perón had made it fashionable (or perhaps it was coincidental) my mother would sit in front of mirror and wrap her long hair around and artificial doughnut-shaped device so she could have a bun in the back of her head. I remember her using some sort of eye cup that she would place on her eye and I thought that she had a removable eyeball which she was washing clean.
In my later years she made herself up while I watched.
When I married my Rosemary in 1968 I was the one who applied eyeliner (I still have a steady hand) and makeup on her.
I am drawn to women who look at themselves in the mirror and put one lipstick. I find it erotic. My Abue would just laugh it off and say, “Eres un artista como yo, por eso eres raro.” That translates to, “You are an artist like me so that is why you are strange.”
In my many years of photography I can show off dramatic portraits and elaborate photographs with complicated lighting setups. But dear to my heart are the photographs that I took at the Marble Arch Hotel in this one room and on this one bed of at least 10 beautiful women and one very goodlooking man and another.
There is a simplicity and freedom of shooting with a Nikon FM-2 with very fast Kodak Film (3200 ISO) that somehow is lost with the best digital camera money can buy. Holding a camera with so much metal and knowing that its shutter is very thin titanium is part of the charm.
When you add to all that a woman like Claire Love (she disappeared some years in France) who has this melancholy face, I try to think how it was. Did I direct her? Did I just follow her actions? I know I told her to bring a cheap suitcase and the teddy bear you see on the night stand. There are some photographs that show her body in its entirety. They may have happened as the session progressed. But I have no memory. I cannot ever remember her voice which must have been a quiet one. She had elegance in spades.
But these photographs prove that it all happened and that who would even suspect that in my mind there is a connection with Eva Perón?
Abue would quote something about that five and dime store of yore.