With almost a year since my Rosemary’s death I find that I am not feeling any less grief than I was months ago. One of the few methods of relief for me is to write about it.
The days are full of menialities (I love this old word that is rarely used now) like dusting, vacuuming, feeding the cats, taking Niño, the male cat, for a walk and making sure I never have any dishes to wash in the sink.
I make my bed every day for two reasons. One of them is that if you deal with minialities there is a stability that comes with order. This even involves shaving even when I know I am not going to see anyone.
The other reason for making the bed is that Rosemary would say, “Let’s make the bed nice so that the cats will rest on it during the day.”
I have no idea what my daughters will do with my extensive (like really extensive) negative, slide, digital, and photograph files that I have. Today I went to get more clear negative files for negatives that are at least 45 years old. It is difficult to figure out what to throw away. Perhaps that will be the next step.
And when I go through these negatives, particularly the family ones I realize that I photographed all those early birthdays. There are lots of pictures with cakes. And there are few photographs of me as I was the photographer and of Rosemary who mostly appears holding one of our daughters or both of them.
I have placed in this blog some photographs of Rosemary with Alexandra (both nude) when she may have been barely one year old.
But I knew I would find the photographs that are here. I have scanned all 14 of them. They are the first nude photographs (cropped here for propriety) I ever took of a woman and that woman was Rosemary. I was early in the game of photography in 1969 when I believe I took these photographs. The top of Rosemary’s head is too close to the edge of frame. I did not photograph her hands well. And my negatives reproduce sort of gray so I have to up the contrast and lighten them. Since the film was Tri-X and I was a terrible film developer there is a lot of grain and because the negs are that old there is dust that cannot be removed.
But I see these photographs, these nudes as how I began in later years to do lots of them.
Here in Canada most men photograph their wives nude as in, “Honey lets photograph Junior before he is born. Why not do it in the tub?”
I guess that even then I had a bit more class.
In these photographs there is a running thread in that so many of them have this sad look on Rosemary. This was something that she did all her life.
I wonder how other men see their wives once they are gone. They might look at a family album or some photographs on the wall. I believe it is different when the man is a photographer.
One thing is to look at a contact sheet. With film that is what you had. I would look at them with a loupe and decide which ones to print in the darkroom.
Now with the scanner I see that I overlooked many gems and some that in spite of not being gems are worth scanning.
When you scan a negative and you look at the image on the monitor as I do I get this tingly (cold and warm and sad) feeling of looking at the image of someone who was very much alive when I took it. That life, that soul that I can peer into those eyes is something that is much more evident because of the size of the photograph on my monitor.
I have no memory on how I approached Rosemary to take these photographs. I do not think she resisted. Her body was as perfect a body as I have ever seen. Her breasts where just the right size, and her legs were divine. He waist was small and her hips while small did show curves.
I can only realize now, when it is too late, that I should have returned to Rosemary and taken many more photographs and shown more of her beauty.
But I have these.