|Anastasia at the Marble Arch
“Sigo creyendo que el cuerpo de la princesa Anastasia nunca se encontró porque no murió y se convirtió en Greta Garbo…”, Elena Garro
“I keep believing that Anastasia’s body was never found because she did not die and became Greta Garbo.
In was in Mexico City for a week-long stay in Mexico which began on 13 October. I was there as I had been invited by the Fondo de Cultura Económica to give a chat on my author photographs during the XXIII International Book Fair held at the Mexico City Zócalo.
In one of many lectures that I attended one has stood out. It seems that the wife of famous writer Octavio Paz suddenly was Elena Garro whose husband was Octavio Paz. Even in Mexico the vindication of women writers has begun. She died in 1998 in Cuernavaca and now is considered to be one of the great Latin American writers of the 20th century.
It seems that this woman also was one of the first (besides Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier) to bring the idea of magic realism into Lati n American literature.
It was her unfinished, and never published story, where she stated that Anastasia became Greta Garbo, that grabbed me.
In all the women I have ever photographed since I held a camera in 1958 there is one that stands out for having been an enigma. I photographed Anastasia Milne in a room of a then infamous hotel called The Marble Arch. Anastasia was (she has subsequently changed her name) the sister of pioneering(and still at it) film industry executive Carole Milne.
I have no memory on how I approached her and how it was that I ended taking her photographs that are all impossible to ignore when you look at her face.
For reasons that escape me I used Kodak’s sharpest fine grain film ever made. It was called Kodak Technical Pan. It had a red sensitivity that made skin luminous. Stranger still I took some photographs using an unsharp 6x9 inch Gevabox German box camera.
Now I know that soon I will have to find her first novel Los recuerdos del porvenir (Memories to Come).
I still don’t know who my Marble Arch Anastasia was or who she has become.