Sina & Hanna Back From the Dairy Farm
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Ten years ago I had a lovely studio in downtown Vancouver on
the well-known corner of Granville and Robson. One day I received a phone call
from a woman called Sina who told me that she and her friend Hanna wanted me to
take their photographs.
|Sina and Hanna|
I often got these calls and I always told them, “Go to
Simpson Sears or Sooter’s studio if you want portraits. It will be a lot
cheaper.” Sina then told me, “The people in Sears (a large department store
across the street from my studio) recommended you (! How on earth?). Besides
(and this was the clincher that I expected, “We want different pictures.” This
usually meant undraped. My curiousity was aroused. My Rosemary told me, “Don’t
trust them. They sound like a scam.” Sina had told me that she and her friend
had been working in a dairy farm in the valley and where on their way back to
Germany. They wanted photographs to give to their boyfriends.
They were above board and paid me well.
Jane Rule - Of Second Paragraphs
Friday, September 25, 2020
|Jane Rule - April 1991|
Have written a few times about my love for reading the first
paragraph on the first page of any book before I decide about buying it.
There is one book that I never bought because it was sent to
me by the publisher. It is Jane Rule’s posthumous autobiography Taking My Life (2011 Talon Books). I wrote about it here and here
In this elegant, beautiful, wonderful book, one so good I
keep it as my-behind- the-toilet-on-the-tank stellar reading material, there is a killer
autobiography may be a positive way of taking my own life. Beginning in the
dead of winter, mortal with abused lungs and liver, my arthritic bones as
incentive for old age, I may be able to learn to value my life as something
other than the hard and threateningly pointless journey it has often seemed. I
have never been suicidal but often stalled, as I have been now for some months,
not just directionless but unconvinced that there is one. No plan for a story
or novel can rouse my imagination, which resolutely sleeps, feeding on the fat
of summer. And so I take my life, with moral and aesthetic misgivings, simply
because there is nothing else to do.
Perhaps because of my constant rereading of it I somehow did
not give more than one glance and read of the second:
I remember remembering
when I was born. My practical young mother said nobody could. But I did
remember dreaming and dreaming and that first waking to the hard light. By the
time she read me Mary Poppins, I realized that I, like most people, had
forgotten not just my birth but apparently the language of birds, the ability
to fly, to walk into the landscape of pictures and to be home among the stars.
Just that one sensation remained – the painful brightness. It was not enough to
make me into Mary Poppins, but memory became for me the earliest
self-discipline I had. I couldn’t, after I learned to write, keep a diary, just
as I couldn’t later take notes in lectures. Writing anything down seemed a way
of forgetting it. I wanted to memorize my life so that whatever experience
taught I would not forget. The difficulty, of course, is that what may seem to
be static interference could be instead the very melody of life, the dismissed
clutter, the real furniture of the soul. The fear of such loss, even our
starkest nightmares, are consolation, for they store and restore to us things
we have not chosen to recall.
In jest (and before I read Jane Rule's Taking My Life ) I used to include in some of my bios:
My birth was recorded in a Buenos Aires hospital with the burst of a magnesium flash. I knew then I would some day become a photographer.
I can imagine Jane Rule smiling had I ever told her that.
no me gustan las máscaras... He dicho.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
que no comparto la opinión del escritor (un maravilloso escritor) uruguayo
Mario Benedetti. Ni siquiera le gustan las máscaras del carnaval, un evento muy
popular en Sud America. Para mí las máscaras no solo tienen esa apariencia de misterio, pero también en estos días del
siglo 21, hay gente, principalmente mujeres, que no quieren ser reconocidas, por
ejemplo aquí en mi bitácora.
Máscaras – Mario Benedetti
No me gustan las máscaras exòticas,
ni siquiera me gustan las màs caras
ni las máscaras sueltas ni las desprevenidas,
ni las amordazadas ni las escandalosas.
No me gustan y nunca me gustaron
ni las del carnaval ni las de los tribunos,
ni las de la verbena, ni las del santoral
ni las de la apariencia, ni las de la retórica.
Me gusta la indefensa gente que da la cara,
y le ofrece al contiguo, su mueca más sincera.
Y llora con su pobre cansancio imaginario,
y mira con sus ojos de coraje o de miedo.
Me gustan los que sueñan sin careta,
y no tienen pudor de sus tiernas arrugas
y si en la noche miran, miran con todo el
y cuando besan, besan con sus labios de
Las máscaras no sirven como segundo rostro,
no sudan, no se azoran, jamás se ruborizan.
Sus mejillas no ostentan lágrimas de
y el mentón no les tiembla de soberbìa o de
Quién puede enamorarse de una faz delgada?
No hay piel falsa que supla la piel de la lascivia,
las máscaras alegres no curan la tristeza,
no me gustan las máscaras... He dicho.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
1. a phrase or
opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.
cliché “one man's meat is another man's poison.”"
Even though I am an obsolete, retired, redundant &
inconsequential photographer there is something that remains inside if one (me)
has been a teacher. My grandmother and mother were teachers. My Rosemary was a
teacher. And now our eldest daughter Alexandra has been teaching for many years
in Lillooet, BC.
My friend, obstreperous, Ian Bateson for years when I would
show him a photograph I was proud of would say, “It’s been done before.” He
would say the same about just any rock band we would see at the Commodore
Ballroom in the 80s.
He left me speechless for many, many years until one day I
saw the light. I remember that I shouted at him, “But I have not done it yet!”
Working at Vancouver Magazine, art director Chris Dahl
pushed me to get out of whatever style I had at the moment. In one occasion he
told me to imitated Vanity Fair covers done by Irving Penn. I sort of objected
but I soon learned that the key to an identifiable personal style (Penn had it
in spades as did Avedon and Newton) was to study photographers I admired until,
little by little the style that emerged was my own.
Part of this voyage of discovery of the Holy Grail of
Photography which is the personal style is to try to shoot clichés. Clichés
work because they are clichés.
So when I faced Lisa Prentiss in her apartment and I noticed
the reflections from the venetian blinds I knew I had to shoot as many as I
could. This I did.
And for many years after including in this shot I took of
Olena with my iPhone3g the use of gobos with a focusing spotlight meant I didn’t
need Venetian blinds and for the light to be just right.