We had a short visit by our eldest daughter Ale (she lives in Lillooet) this weekend but she left today because a storm is happening tomorrow and the curvy road between Pemberton and Lillooet can be dangerous.
Because Ale has a teaching seniority she now goes to school three times a week and teaches art in the primary school. I asked her how old her oldest are. When she said 12 I told her, “I want to lend you this August Sander book which I think you can use in a class with that bunch.”
Sander photographed the professions in Germany in the last century. He even had a pauper. All portraits (few exceptions) are full length taken outside. There is something about these portraits, a quality where you instantly think, “This man respected the people he photographed for their humanity.”
My idea is that these kids should go home and take pictures of their mother not as their mother but as a woman who is the mother, a mother ideal. Of their pet cat they would take a portrait of the cat in its catness.
In the late 50s in my Roman Catholic boarding school, St. Ed’s in Austin, Texas we liked to get our religion (really theology) teacher BrotherEdwin Reggio, C.S.C. off track and we thought we would waste time by asking him questions. I am sure the Brother Edwin knew well of our intentions and used these situations to his (and subsequently to our) advantage. One day we asked him, “Did Hitler and Judas go to hell?”
He did not answer immediately but told us that every human born enters the world with what he called “an inherent dignity”. The fact that all of them were born (he circumvented the idea that God had chosen each one) with it means that no matter how they then live their life for good or evil, this does not take away that dignity. He then finished by telling us, “I don’t know if those two went to hell.”
With all the shenanigans happening in politics in the USA and in my own, also polarized Argentina, I understand that the concept of dealing with each other knowing of this mutual dignity has somehow been lost.
In all my years of taking portraits of people for magazines, annual reports, brochures, etc and for myself, I always have within me the words of Brother Edwin and a vision of those marvellous photographs that August Sander took so many years ago.
Here you have the lovely Linda Lorenzo, full of poise showing us some of this stuff we first heard from the Brother of the Congregation of Holy Cross.