Vintage - Once - Fashion - OnceMonday, March 02, 2020
I have a social media friend who posts a vintage photograph of a woman every day. I have no idea if she takes the photographs or not as they are all uncredited.
When I first came to Vancouver from Mexico City with my Rosemary and two daughters in 1975 I did not find a job as a photographer until 1977 when I went for swimming stroke improvement classes at the YMCA after my job, washing cars and renting them at Tilden-Rent-A-Car on Alberni Street.
A young French Canadian woman in my class asked me to photograph her when she found out I was a photographer. This I did. What I did not know is that she worked in the gift department of Holt Renfrew and put some of my pictures into their expensive frames. Mrs. Joe Cohen, a wealthy woman whose husband had the Sony franchise in Canada saw the photographs.
I then photographed all the Cohen family including Marlene Cohen whose husband owned Army and Navy. Mrs Joe Cohen then gave me her card to present to Gabriel Levy who at the time was the fashion editor for Vancouver Magazine. Levy looked at my portfolio and told me, “You are a fine portrait photographer but you lack the attitude (whatever that meant!) to be a fashion photographer. Here is my card. Show it to Rick Staehling who is the art director at Vancouver Magazine.” And that was that. I became a magazine photographer.
Until November 1987 I avoided fashion like the plague. I noticed that hot-shot fashion photographers came to town and were soon gone. About the only one who remained and persisted was the stellar Howard Fry.
But then (Gabriel Levy had been one of the first deaths from AIDS in Vancouver) the fashion editor of Vancouver Magazine, Linda Guthrie, somehow had run out of fashion photographers and told me that I could do a good job. I wrote about this here.
What is interesting today for me is that in my Artropolis/Fashion file I found these five Polaroids of the shoot. And I then remembered that I had photographed a lovely woman called Darcia Carnie for a shoot for a piece I wrote for Western Living.
It is the only vintage type of photograph that I ever took. But it led to me getting jobs as a writer.