Nadie es profeta en su tierra - San Lucas 4-24
Saturday, March 26, 2022
|Camellia x williamsii 'Donation' 24 March 2022
My grandmother often quoted St. Luke’s 4-24 in Spanish, “Nadie
es profeta en su tierra.” The lovely version in the King James Bible is:
And he said, Verily I
say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
This has been my fate in achieving any kind of artistic
success since I can remember having an inkling that I might just be some sort
Because I am approaching my soon to come (statistically
speaking) eventual oblivion, I am putting my house in order.
Almost every day I sort through hundreds of negatives,
slides etc. I try to throw away what I deem not important like my many lawyer
But the conundrum that haunts me are my around 1500 very
large file plant scans which I began in 2001. These scans are accurate records
(size, colour and date) of the plants that have graced our Kerrisdale garden and
now my Kitsilano garden.
I am placing them in two exterior hard drives. Pending are
the first three years of the scans which I put into CDs. I have to store the
images in those.
On March 24 I finally noticed that my Camellia x wiliamsii ‘Donation’
was finally in bloom. In other years it has bloomed on the 20th and even before
(I have those scans in other years with the recorded date).
Donation was Rosemary’s favourite camellia and one of her
favourite plants. I smiled when I saw it today and I was quick to scan an open
flower and two buds. I also felt the melancholy knowing that my pleasure could
not be shared except in those lovely words also recorded by St.Luke, “Do this
in remembrance of me.”
As for my plant scans they will be saved and archived as
part of my legacy even though I take note of St. Luke’s warning that it might be for naught.
The Table of Existence
Friday, March 25, 2022
|La mesa de la existencia - 25 de marzo, 2022 - Gaston Bachelard
The Poetics of Space (French: La Poétique de l'Espace) is a
1958 book about architecture by the French philosopher Gaston
Bachelard. The book is considered an important work about art. Commentators
have compared Bachelard's views to those of the philosopher Martin
Gaston Bachelard coined a phrase that has remained with
me for some time. Today I decided to take a photograph of the desk in my
oficina. I was lazy and shot a few pictures. They were not quite sharp so I
finally did what any good photographer will do which is to improve the
capabilities of a camera by mounting it on a tripod.
Bachelard wrote of his work space, “the table of
When Rosemary and I lived in Kerrisdale I had the handsome
Edwardian desk in the picture above on one end of the living room. In the
basement, in a very large room, I had all my negative files. In another room it
was my darkroom. When Rosemary calculated my taxes she included the fact that a
lot of our house was my work area. She would complain when I would use our dining room table to sort through slides.
Now, with no darkroom fumes in a damp darkroom, and my files all being in the
same room as my desk, I find that my existence in it is pleasant. It is warm and
dry and lots of light comes through the door and the window behind my CRT
monitor. I have to adjust my Venetian blinds so I will not be affected by the
Very important for my existence is that Epson scanner on
the left of the photo. You can see the bamboo stick attached to my Art Deco
lamp with a bloom of Camellia x
williamsii ‘Donation’ suspended from it. I scanned the camellia and the
results are here.
Living alone with two friendly brother and sister cats
can be a bit melancholic in spite of the fact that they are affectionate. My office and the desk (a table it also is) is as
Bachelard stated, my existence. I feel comfortable when I am in my oficina.
In bed at night, ideas come to my head in preparation for
my next day’s blog. Sometimes like many a night I get out of bed and sit at my oficina
chair after midnight.
With spring coming, my oficina existence will be shared
with getting my garden ready for the season. Every year Rosemary and I opened
our garden. We began sometime around 1990. Moving to the little deck garden in
Kits never did change our habit. I will be opening the garden to the Vancouver
Rose Society in June. I am sure that many of the visitors will be curious as to
what is behind that door on the deck.
I will quote Gaston Bachelard.
Alex el Memorioso
Thursday, March 24, 2022
|Rosemary 1968 & 2020
Of memory, particulary of the Borgesian kind, I have written in great detail (link below). But I still
think I can add to my concept of memory.
Of Memory - Jorge Luís Borges - Thornton Wilder
I am 79. My memory is very good except some names are
beginning to fade. I need to use tricks to remember them. I remember Leonard Cohen by remembering Leonard Bernstein first!
But there is one facet of memory that I want to deal with
here. I am purposely using the word facet as its original use is for the faces of
polyhedrons. Think of a diamond and that it has sharp and rectilinear facets. A person's face has many sides (even profiles if you are a portrait photographer).
My Dictionary of the Spanish Language (RAE) defines faceta
2. f. Cada uno de los aspectos que se pueden
considerar en una persona o en una cosa.
This translates to every one of the aspects that one can
consider in a person or thing.
I am illustrating this blog with three of my photographs of
Rosemary. The last one on the right is the most recent one that I took it a few
months before she died in December 2020.
So here is my question to myself. When I Remember (randomly
or purposely) my Rosemary, is the image in my memory from one of my many photographs
of her (a few framed around the house)? Or are they memory images as I remember
her from one situation here or there, recent or then?
Others, not portrait photographers might only have a family album for visual reference and they can look at individual
pictures in that album. But with hundreds of pictures of Rosemary in my
computer and in my negative, print, slide and colour negative files I believe
that my memory of my Rosemary is one of many facets.
Obviously if I want to remember Raymond Burr after having
seen Rear Window at the Hollywood Theatre with Hilary this last Monday, my
memory is threefold. There are the images of Burr I remember from the film (or
Perry Mason) or they are of the fact that I met him and photographed him twice.
This makes it a tad more complex as I may remember him in the film, him in
person and him in my photographs.
I will pose this question, which is the true
memory of Burr? I would think that the answer is that all are true.
Because I rarely look at photographs of my father (I have no
more than 7) , my memory of him is a fading memory of the times I was with him
and before he died in Buenos Aires in 1966. I visited him on weekends. My
memory has not recorded our conversations. I will never know why. But strangely I remember his scent which was of a lavender aftershave, Old Smuggler Whiskey and his Player's Navy Cut cigarettes.
Memory, as Borges said many times, involves forgetting first.
Dan Sherrod, an Aston Martin DB-4 & A Yelllow 2018 Mustang GT
|Dan Sherrod's last car
While I rarely bring back an old blog in its entirety and
just post a link within another blog, this time I will place that original
blog (below) about my former classmate from Odessa, Texas who died last Saturday. I
received an email communication from his son Chris. The communication is below. And
after the original blog on Dan Sherrod, Shelley Berman and Buttermilk.
It was only yesterday that I wrote this obituary about Sherri Decembrini. At my age of 79 I feel like I am in Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None. I feel that as so many of my former classmates from St. Edward's High School in Austin, Texas die, the least that I can do is to record their passing.
On Wed, Mar 23, 2022, 11:55 AM Chris Sherrod wrote:
Hi Alex, I'm Chris Sherrod, Dan's son.
I wanted to let you know that we came across your blog
post again on a google search for some of dad's pictures. What a great story.
Such a good memory. I know he enjoyed it when we saw it the first time.
Sadly, dad passed away very suddenly last Saturday
morning. Organ failure.
He always was a comedy fan which probably shaped my
desire to get into movies and animation. Just to get him to laugh.
BTW, Dad did buy a 2018 flaming yellow Mustang GT. It was
In 1959 I was an unsophisticate of 17 at St. Edward's High School a Catholic
boarding school in Texas. I was in the 10th grade living in a huge
dorm with bunkbeds. Years later when I saw old b+w photographs of the dorm it
reminded me of some German Stalag.
I remember to this day that a fellow student, Dan Sherrod, by his bunk bed
desk, not far from mine, was listening to a record called Inside – Shelley Berman. I will never forget Berman talking about
how disgusting a glass emptied of its contents (buttermilk) looked. This was enough for me
and I can declare here and now that I have never tried it.
, the sophisticate, was from Odessa, Texas. He
was particularly intelligent and looked the part with his glasses. But he had a
way that was not over-the-top “I am superior to you”.
One day he gently
corrected me on the pronounciation of that French car (I am sure there was not
one at the time anywhere in the State of Texas) Peugeot.
While most of us read Motor
Trend, Sherrod swore by Road & Track. He would tell me about Formula
One races. Being an Argentine, at least I knew who Juan Manuel Fangio was.
On one weekend afternoon Sherrod was playing a record that I
ultimately bought not too long ago here in Vancouver. It was Peter Ustinov – The
Grand Prix of Gibraltar. This is a
remarkable recording of Ustinov making all the car noises and imitating to
perfection fictitious (based on real ones) F-1 drivers of the time.
Looking back at my boyhood in Texas, today September 2, 2017,
one day after Shelley Berman died, I can pinpoint the young man responsible for
making me the snob I am today (and proud of it!).
|Aston Martin DB4
I had a telephone chat with Sherrod who told me he
once owned the Aston Martin DB4 his father once (or twice) drove to St.
Ed's. We were awed at the car. We were allowed to open and close the
doors that made a thick and rewarding clunk of a sound. He is about to
over 10 year old Corvette and I believe he told me he was going to buy a
Who would have ever suspected that Texas could have
engendered such a sophisticate as Dan Sherrod?
If I ever visit him I will demand he serve me a glass of ice cold
Addendum: Dan Sherrod has communicated:
And, you'll never get any buttermilk from me.
Sherri Decembrini - March 22, 2022 - Requiescat in Pace
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Finding out last night that Art’s wife, Sherri Decembrini
died made me feel hopeless. With my Rosemary’s death on December 9 2020 I have
not gotten over it and I know that there is nothing you can tell a person whose
spouse has died that can help in any way. This is something one has to navigate
|Zippy's birthday Sept 7 2014
Art Bergmann has been part of my life since 1977 We are friends.
On a positive note in these dark days I would like to bring
up the subject of Ukraine. This is a Ukraine before the terrible invasion of
the country by Putin’s hordes.
In years back I liked to say that Malcolm Parry’s office at
Vancouver Magazine was like Ukraine. I believe that there are no tall
mountains there. The country has suffered invasions from west to east or east
and back for centuries with no way of stopping them.
Malcolm Parry’s office always had its door open.
Politicians, thugs, boxers, actors, prostitutes, rock stars, writers,
photographers, policemen, etc all were welcomed to Parry’s office. And because
I was often in that room I met all those people and somehow photographed many
Because of Les Wiseman’s In One Ear rock column in that
magazine and since Wiseman was a music critic snob (most music critics are),
he liked Art Bergmann. Bergmann became a frequent subject of his column and I
was the assigned photographer.
I have no memory as to why I went to Art and Sherri’s pad
near Oak Street to take the kitchen and bed photographs. All I know is that
there does not seem to be one bad image in the whole lot.
The couple trusted me and thanks to that these photographs
are as good as they could possibly be.
In the months that follow Art will have a difficult time.
I have found that writing my blog has helped me deal with my grief. Perhaps Art
will now write some of the best songs of his life, after all Sherri was a
companion of inspiration.
|With Art's parents