Red, White & Blue
Saturday, August 27, 2022
|Rosa 'William Shakespeare 2000' - Rosa 'Sombreul' & Clematis heracleifolia 'New Love' & Krysztoff Kieslowski|
On October 13 1996, I had the fortune to photograph Polish
film director Krysztoff Kieślowski
in Hotel Vancouver for the Globe and Mail. His most famous films are a trilogy
The Three Colours
trilogy (French: Trois couleurs, Polish: Trzy kolory) is the collective title
of three psychological drama films directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski:
Three Colours: Blue (1993), Three Colours: White (1994), and Three Colours: Red
I watched gentle Christopher Dafoe interview him in the
legendary (for me since I have photographed so many people there) Sun Room of
the Hotel Vancouver. Kieślowski
did not look well and he was chain smoking. I got this impression that he was
not going to be around for long. A year later he had a heart attack and barely
recovered. He died March 13, 1996.
When I pulled out my deep green filter he
looked at me and smiled. "I am a
photographer, too," he said to me. "I know what a green filter does,
exactly." And he posed for me and winked. As he looked straight into
my camera I saw a man who was preparing to die. And I also knew, he knew,
exactly, what the photograph was going to look like.
Today 26 August 2022 I had the idea that since I had this
portrait of Kieślowski
that I might find three flowers that would be red, white and blue. But that was
not to be. The white rose and the blue herbaceous perennial clematis (not all
clematis are vines) were in for the idea.There was not one red rose in bloom
(Rosa ‘William Shakespeare 2000’ had a bud (I cut two yesterday) but I was not
going to snip it. I believe that cats, babies and roses do not perform on
Yesterday’s scan of William Shakespeare 2000 will have to
do. Rosa 'Sombreul' and Clematis heracleifolia 'New Love' I scanned today.
Friday, August 26, 2022
|Rebecca & Rosa 'William Shakespeare'|
|Rosa 'William Shakespeare 2000' 25 August 2022|
mother, grandmother and I moved from Buenos Aires to Mexico City in 1953 our first
house was in Colonia Anzures. The street we lived on was Guillermo Shakespeare.
When we took taxis home my mother would pronounce for the benefit of the driver
the name in this way “shakes-peh-ha-reh”. There is a tradition in Latin America
of translating the first name into Spanish of people from other countries so in Mexico City you have Plaza
Jorge Washington and one of the better known Argentine authors who was born in Quilmes, Provincia de Buenos Aires is known as Guillermo Enrique Hudson.
until Rosemary, our two daughters and I moved to Vancouver in 1975, that I
became acquainted with going to a Shakespeare play.
In 1966 I
was madly in love with an Argentine girl called Susy. When I found out that
they were screening the 1936 film Romeo and Juliet with Leslie Howard and Norma
Shearer I was keen to take her. I had seen the film with my mother who adored
any film with Leslie Howard. It was at the film that Susy told me, “They are
much too old to be that romantic couple.”
In 1984 Rosemary and I went to see a Richard III at Vanier Park
in a just new-to-happen-moment that prefigured Bard on the Beach. It had
Christopher Gaze as an evil hunchbacked king.
90s David Austin introduced an English Rose, Rosa ‘William Shakespeare'. We
instantly bought it and it did well for us but Austin de-listed it and in 2000
introduced the unromantically named Rosa ‘Shakespeare 2000’. Our original rose died. We then purchased
the improved one that is not very vigorous in our Kitsilano garden.
But I love
to look at these photographs of my granddaughter Rebecca who often posed for me
with that rose.
I hope that
the time will come when Rebecca might say to me, “Papi I would like you to take
a portrait of me with William Shakespeare.”
Sandwiches in my Menu
Thursday, August 25, 2022
|Béatrice Larrivée - 24 August 2022|
here that from my New York Times I found out about the death of American art
photographer Jerry Uelsmann. I wrote about it here. Since then I have been
shooting film when possible with the idea of doing what I call my "scanner
negative sandwiches without mayonnaise".
results happen when the negatives are from the same session and in particular
when a few of the exposures are taken with the camera firmly on a tripod. When you flip one of the negatives in the
opposite direction sometimes you get a neat result.
date of 5 August 2022 my plants in the garden are waning in direction of fall. To
keep myself distracted, I had the good fortune of having dancer Béatrice
Larrivée, 26, pose for me yesterday. Because we are blessed in Vancouver to have a
processing joint called The Lab I was able to drop her off at Arts Umbrella
where she is giving classes on a dance system called Gaga and still make it to
The Lab and then even get the film back by 5!
Un Cero a la Izquierda & a Persistent Vancouver Cultural Faux Pas
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
|Béatrice Larrivée - 24 August 2022|
Béatrice Larrivée - Dance Passion
0.1 – 00.1- 000.1
On September 1990 I was drinking a beer with American artist Jeff Koons at the Marble Arch bar. He
was in Vancouver because his partner, the notorious Cicciolina, was undraping at that Marble Arch stage. I told him that there was a very good show of
paintings by Attila Richard Lukacs at the Diane Farris Gallery featuring
American Marine Corps troopers in dress uniform holding American flags. I
suggested to him that the CBC might want to interview him at the gallery where
he would give his opinion of the art on the wall. He was keen.
I called the CBC and this is what they told me, “Who is this Koons guy? No, we are not
That answer reminded me of another Vancouver cultural faux
pas. When Willard Holmes was the Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery he was
approached by the Mexican government which was sending a show of Frida Kahlo
paintings for a show in a Tokyo museum. The paintings were going on Japan
Airlines via Vancouver. The Mexican Government simply wanted Holmes and the VAG
to insure the show while it was being shown in Vancouver. Holmes declined. I
was told of this by his successor Brooks Joyner.
And today, 24 August 2022 our cultural faux pas persists.
Larrivée, 26, came over to my house for a portrait session.
The b+w photograph above was the first photograph I took of her. To me it
screams presence and skill.
She has been hired by the folks at Arts Umbrella Dance
Company (she graduated from there in 2016) to teach the dancers a dance system
called Gaga pioneered and developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin.
Gaga is a movement language intended to help
practitioners raise physical awareness by focusing on (or in Gaga terms,
“listening” to) the rhythm of their bodies, letting them direct their movement
and the pleasure that movement brings. Larrivée is based in Tel Aviv with the
Batsheva Dance Company directed by Naharin.
I am not a dance critic but I started taking photographs
of the best Canadian dancers in 1991for the Georgia Straight and by the
beginning of this century I wrote articles on dance for the then very good
Saturday Vancouver Sun. For many years I photographed and followed the dancers
of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company that not only has sent their graduating
dancers to Ballet BC but some of the best dance companies in Europe and the
With that previous experience when I went to see Béatrice Larrivée at the
Dance Centre this past Saturday and watched her dance solo for one hour I left
with the conclusion that it was the best solo performance I have ever seen in
I called the former Vancouver Sun Dance Critic who did not call me
back. I called the former Georgia Straight Arts Editor and she did not call me
back. I tweeted someone I know on CBC Radio and was asked if Larrivée was going
to dance again. Interest disappeared when I answered in the negative.
I did not give up and went to the CBC and located, outside,
some minions of the French CBC and asked them if anybody they worked for would be interested. They took my card and told me
that if anybody were interested in interviewing and watching Larrivée give her
Gaga class at the Arts Umbrella Dance Company they would call me.
They never did.
It all reminds me of the fly scene from the film The
Magnificent Seven involving a has-been gunfighter Lee played by Robert Vaughn
Lee awakens from a nightmare, one possibly caused by the
wine he drank from a gourd tied to his wrist. Two villagers rush in to comfort
him. Lee admits that he’s scared. “The lies you tell yourself. ‘No enemies,
alive.'” The film cuts to three flies buzzing around the table. Lee snatches
one. We are shocked. Then he says, “There was a time when I would have caught
all three.” The farmers soothe him, saying, “Only the dead are without fear.”
I feel like Mr. Vaughn in that at one time all the people
I called would have called me back.
It was my Spanish grandmother who taught me the
expression “un cero a la izquierda” or a zero to the left (of the decimal
point. No matter how many zeros you place there the value will ultimately be
the same 0.1
That’s me. But then I was lucky to take my portraits of
Larrivée. This aging gunfighter has survived another shoot. It gives me the
comfort that I am not quite obsolete, redundant, retired & inconsequential.
My Rosemary's Macro Eyes
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
|Gentiana asclepiadea 23 August 2022|| || |
|Top - Sedum matrona & Senecio cineraria 23 August 2022|
5641 (including this one) blogs, since January 2006, when I often wrote “why do I blog blogs”, I
have come to definite conclusion that I do it as a 21st century Dear
Diary. It is really the only legacy I leave to my two daughters.
thousands of filed family photographs but the ones contained in my numerous
family blogs have some of the best ones.
waning days of summer my obsession in scanning my plants is still strong. I may
have at least 2000 of them in very high res tiff scans that could serve for
some botanical/scientific purpose. But I
have found that nobody is interested in this scanographer’s scanographs. Since
I started my plant scans I have sold exactly two prints. One went to a lawyer
for his home and the other to real estate agent who bought it for a client. If I were 35 and needing money I would make the rounds of hotels.These plants scans would not offend anybody.
tell people that in Vancouver it is most important if one is a photographer
(who thinks he may be an artist) to not be bitter. This negative emotion can
And so I
happily scan every day. It is fun to sit in my comfortable oficina with one or
both cats in residence removing little spots from my scans while discovering
details in the plants of my garden that only my Rosemary well knew, as she
looked at her plants with a human double macro lens, which is what her eyes
double scan, the one of the gentian is ample proof how a scanner can outperform the
best camera macro lens. The photographer goes to the plant and must adapt to
the lighting situation. In my case I can cut the flower and a leaf and fuss
over both on my scanner. This is lots of fun.
In the other
scan of the senecio and the sedum, I appreciate Rosemary’s tastes for grey
plants and her sedum which is at its best when the hostas are beginning to show
the effect of a very hot summer. The roses, the ones that are remontant, are
in wait for cooler weather before they bloom again.
my Rosemary I have learned that I, too, have macro lens eyes when amply helped
by my scanner.
And for a "Why not?" here is an additional scan including a lovely interloper who lasts for days looking like this even when it is cut.
|with Garvinea 'Sweet Fiesta' 23 August 2022|