|Rebecca Stewart & yours truly|
At my ripe age of 80 I have accepted that I will soon die with lots of useful and relevant information.
In the desert that is social media (I participate in FB and in Twitter) I see many photographs with no connection or association to anything.
It was in December 2, 1873 that the halftone process was used to publish a photograph of the Steinway Building in a NY newspaper called The New York Daily Graphic. I wrote about that in the blog link below.
That photograph ushered in what became a symbiotic relationship between copy (what is written and this is a newspaper term) and photographs. Magazines and newspapers competed to have the best of both.
Now, particularly in Twitter I see sunsets, sunrises, macro photos of roses shot in noon lighting (the worst light), pristine nature shots, city skylines, and graphic architecture shots. There is an absence of humanity. Rarely do these photographs have some sort of explanation. The photographer groups ask (I participate in a few) “show us your stunning sunsets”. The word stunning is overused.
Illustrating this blog is a photograph of my granddaughter Rebecca in a sailor dress and with a lovely single tea rose called Rosa ‘Mrs. Oakley Fisher’ which I took in 2004 when she was 8. On the right is her grandfather in his Armada República Argentina uniform.
In this blog I feature all the other members of my family in some sort of sailor outfits.
Obviously the two pictures have the sailor connection. But there is more.
Some 18 years ago a Vancouver travel magazine hired me to go to Cancún to do a story. Because I was both a writer and photographer they saved one airfare and a double payment. I was paid a lump sum for both. At a Sanborn’s (a sort of London Drugs that also sold books, silver jewellery, clothing and Mexican curios I spotted the sailor dress. They also served fabulous Mexican food.
When Rebecca was 13 in 2009 I had a pleasant suspicion. I put a blind over her eyes and brought 10 roses from Rosemary’s and my garden. She was able to identify all ten by scent.
The photograph of Rebecca is one that few now would understand that I lit her with a flash inside a softbox and I used the camera shutter to darken the background. With phones being the camera du jour most disdain the laser ring lights (inexpensive they are) and photographs are now rarely lit. Hollywood lighting or the lighting of Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Bert Stern and others is all but forgotten.
My portrait was taken by an Argentine born American, John Sullivan, who was doing his time as a conscript in the Argentine Army. He snapped my portrait with my East German Pentacon-F. For reasons that escape me I never posed in those two years in the navy in my summer whites.
I could have posted this pair of photos in with no explanation. It is my belief that as nice as they may be they need context.
As for Mrs. Oakley Fisher, when I saw her in Janet Wood’s garden ( a former president of the Vancouver Rose Society) and she told me what it was called I said the following, “Janet I am going home and I am going to make a strong mug of Earl Grey Tea, I will have slice of toast with unsalted butter with apricot jam.”
The sight of the rose elicited that wonderful desire in me.
And of course Rosa ‘Mrs. Oakley Fisher’ became my Rosemary’s and my favourite rose.