|Jill Daum circa 1995|
There is a lovely Spanish word quehaceres, which sort of translates to things you do routinely. One version would be quehaceres domésticos.
I have written before in previous blogs of my discovery of a word seldom used now, menialities. To me it does not have the pleasant sound of quehaceres.
My daily quehaceres, which include breakfast and the NY Times, feeding Niño and Niña and then doing chores like vacuuming or taking out the garbage, keep me distracted and otherwise occupied. But the menial tasks, such as taking out the garbage or cleaning the litter box are jobs that Rosemary did and I did not seem to notice. I was an idiot.
A high point of the day, that gives me a sense of usefulness, is walking around the block with Niño. He and his sister give me an almost human warmth and the company I crave.
|Jill Daum - 1977|
Now I do, and because I do, I am saddened. Something as simple and wonderfully cheerful as when I removed the washed sheets and pillowcases from the drier and Rosemary and I made the bed, is a routine that I miss. It is no different and no less sad than working in the garden and noticing the vacant presence of Rosemary sitting on the deck (she was awfully flexible) and tending to her plants.
When my youngest daughter Hilary comes to visit me once a week, I prepare a complete meal for her and we might watch the news or a DVD. Then I take her home to Burnaby. Driving back, there is that empty seat next to me and what keeps me going is knowing that my cats will be waiting for me when I return. They are now more clingy than ever. Last week Niño decided to occupy a chair next to me while I was at my computer scanning my negative sandwiches (as the ones seen here). Before I knew what had happened, he jumped on my desk and stepped on my keyboard. It took me over an hour to get rid of the built-in Photoshop grid on all my attempted scans.
|Niño, left, and Niña 14 May 2022|
I now leave the oficina door open (it gets cold) so Niño and Niña can observe that I have not left the coop.
While I have not been able to spread my current obsession of my negative sandwiches to the few photographer friends I have left who keep telling me that I can do any of this with Photoshop, I know that I must keep on. It is no different than being a painter sitting in front of a blank canvas every day (like my mentor/friend Juan Manuel Sánchez used to do). What is special is that I am seeing some of my pictures (negatives) as if I were being exposed to them for the first time.
There is one fact I must stress. Some of these negatives are 57 years old. The b+w negatives are perfect still. The colour negs (a highly unstable product) I need to play around with the colour shifts. My slides are pristine.
There is then this curious feeling of seeing something for the first time again, or at the very least at a side of it that I never considered before.
Leading this blog is a double portrait of actor Jill Daum which I took 20 years ago. The second picture of her I took back in 1977!
I consider her to have been one of my most important and inspirational subjects. Curiously she appeared in a play in a Vancouver Fringe Festival (one I will never forget) as Diane Arbus.
When I look at this sandwich photograph of Rosemary that I took in 1968 I see her in a new light.
Rosemary's Birthday - the hour glass, severe & sombre, in the god’s right hand