My Swords Excalibur
Saturday, May 06, 2023
|My first two cameras, the Pentacon- F new in 1958, the Pentax S-3 used in 1962|
For most of
us, our memories (unless we were blind from birth or became so later in life)
are based in people we have met and seen. The memories in our mind are visual.
There are also sounds and scent associated with them.
photographer I must add that my memories may be more intense when I look at my
framed photographs of family and friends or delve into my photo files.
But in the
last few days, because I have noticed that many of my peers are selling their
expensive Leicas and Hasselblads on social media, my memories include what I
saw and felt when I looked through the viewfinder of my cameras beginning with
my first camera, a Pentacon-F that I bought in 1958.
decisions of deciding to shoot vertical or horizontal. There were decisions of
using lights. There are memories of telling my subjects to wait as I reloaded
my camera. There are memories when I knew I had my shot and that I did not need to proceed to take more.
is more. Those images in my head began with a person whose face and body
travelled into my camera and exposed the film.That image was (not yet
processed) was latent. Until the film and images were process in my darkroom were my memories of the person latent, too?
I marvel at
that journey, from person through the lens of my camera as an inverted image of
cameras being sold all seem to be in mint condition. All my cameras have been
around the block. They look the part of having been used and used.
I own, not matter how old, works beautifully. Picking any of them up instantly
brings to mind memorable portrait sessions.
they represent multiple, Arthurian Swords Excalibur. With them in my
hand, I could not fail; and fail I rarely did.
cameras are metal objects I see in them some humanity. They are a depository of
human feelings, mine and those of my subjects. Would selling any of them be a
travesty? I believe so.
This is why
I will die with all my cameras in my oficina neatly stored and my daughters
will have to decide for me (I cannot) what to do with them.
The Fine Distraction of the AHS Facebook Page
Friday, May 05, 2023
|Hosta 'Liberty', H. Halcyon, H. 'Cameo' & left H. 'El Niño' taken with a Galaxy 5|
The horrible flood in my house on Wednesday has my cats Niño
and Niña in turmoil. I wrote about it here. Despair Not II
Today 5 May, 2023 I imagine, when I am in my bedroom with
the two cats, and listening to the noise of the many dehumidifiers, that I am
flying to some exotic location like the National Convention of the American
Hosta Society in Ames, Iowa (to be held June 7).
It is a melancholy day of rain and I realized that the only
positive idea to think about is to look at my garden that I am getting ready
for the Vancouver Rose Society open gardens in mid June.
Thanks to my eldest daughter Alexandra, who will be
accompanying me to Ames, I enjoy writing a daily blog that in this case can
also apply to the AHS FB page. Ale got me into it. It offers me a little
distraction from the grief I feel over the loss of my Rosemary (52 years
married) on 9 December 2020.
Some who read my blog may know that I was a magazine
photographer in Vancouver beginning around 1977. I shot film cameras and thanks
to prodding from Rosemary I bought a digital one 8 years ago. I shoot film,
lots, too. Sometimes my Galaxy 5 can take unusual photographs in low light and
one in particular to today’s rainy skies.
|Deck garden - Fuji X-E3 panoramic|
The other photographs that I have posted here are with my
Fuji X-E3 which has the feature of being able to take wide and extra wide
The one here is from my bedroom window which is the only
place left in my home with a bit of solace for my cats and me.
|Garden from bedroom window - Fuji X-E3|
The photograph of my laneway garden I shot a day before I
cut the edge of the grass with scissors as my Rosemary did. Her Ipheions are in
bloom right now and their foliage is close to the edge of the flower bed so I
cannot use a weedeater.
|My laneway garden has one English Rose and four old roses. One of them R. sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha flowered May 1 There are 3 hostas in this bed H. 'Sum and Substance, H. plantaginea & H. 'Invincible'|
|Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha|
Despair Not II
Thursday, May 04, 2023
I used the photographs above here (link below) before. Tonight, Thursday
May 4, 2023 I find myself using the photographs again. Why?
Despair Not I
I left the house yesterday at noon to look for plants that
Rosemary loved that have disappeared or died in our present garden. It seems
that this Kitsilano garden is becoming a botanical equivalent of a park bench
with your love one’s name. This is a common occurrence here in Vancouver.
I returned at 3:30 to a flooded house. A hose connecting to
the 3d floor guest bathroom toilet had burst. There was water everywhere even
in two floors down in the kitchen.
It seems I made one good decision that helped (a bit). I
shut off the water valve going to that toilet and immediately drove to London
Drugs and bought a shop vac. I sucked up water for hours. My Hilary and her
husband Bruce came around 9 to help me move furniture so we could remove soaked
Today the house insurance people sent an efficient team.
They will be here until midnight. My cats do not know where to hide. The noise
of the 8 or 9 dehumidifiers is deafening. The only quiet place is the oficina.
As I write this I have the company of Niño and Niña.
Baseboards have been removed and blue tape is placed in wall
and ceilings that will have to be entered through holes. I am in a state of
I feel like the woman I photographed so many years ago in
despair by the Vancouver General Hospital.
I could manage if I were sharing all this turmoil with my
Rosemary. That photograph on the left represents the stability I had for 52
I must now find a way of finding some of that within me.
Perhaps Niño, as stable as a cat can be, might just teach me.
Then there are three pieces of good news.
The vet called me today to tell me that Niño’s blood work a
few days ago revealed that there is nothing wrong with my 10 year old cat. I
had been worried because he had lost weight and suddenly got interested in
human food. The vet will recommend soft food that I can give Niño that will
make him gain some weight.
There were two inches of water in the second floor piano
room. My over 100 year old refurbished baby grand Chickering suffered no
damage. We (my daughters and I ) have discovered that although I had house
insurance somehow Rosemary forgot to get insurance for our house belongings
which my insurance policy would no cover. I lucked out.
Last night I was enjoying a restful tub bath as all my
muscles hurt when the phone rang. I got out of the tub with wet feet. As I
walked to the bedroom I slipped and fell and hit my head soundly on the wall.
While not as old as my Chickering, I survived it all with no bruises or
Wednesday, May 03, 2023
My filing cabinets in my oficina are loaded with
photographs I started taking in 1958. There are actors, actresses (I am old
fashioned) politicians, hoods, producers, ecdysiasts (many), boxers, directors,
punk musicians and musicians of every category and of course lots of family
As a rosarian I am constantly asked, “What is your favourite
rose? My answer usually is, “It depends
on the day or the week.” I am constantly asked, “Who is the most famous person
you have ever photographed?” The answer is similar to the one of the rose.
But of late I believe that I may have an unmatched talent
(yes! I am boasting!) in my photographs of children. The children were my two
daughters when young and my two granddaughters before they became women.
I have written several blogs as to why I do not ever make
these children smile. I was inspired by the two English 19th century
photographers, the Reverend Dodgson and Julia Margaret Cameron. They both
photographed an unsmiling Alice Liddell.
Today, May 3, 2023, in the turmoil of a flooded house (read
my May 4 blog) I was looking over my digital files of family photographs. I
have always considered this portrait of Rebecca posing with a blue agave in Queen
Elizabeth Park’s Bloedel Conservatory one of my most iconic portrait of her. In
that family file I found that completely different second shot. Because she is
wearing the same blouse it was obviously taken minutes before or after the
For me the quality of the one with her hair up just proves
that taking pictures of children is my mettle.
Existenzphilosophie in a crib
Tuesday, May 02, 2023
I have an Argentine friend who believes in reincarnation. I
often tell her that if I was a camel before I was born as Alex (in reality
Jorge Alejandro) and I have never remembered that I was a camel or that when I
meet my oblivion (she does not believe in that) and I will become a hippo and
the hippo does not remember being Alex, I don’t see this as a positive Karl
Jaspers’s Existenzphilosophie with any relevance.
Oblivion is what I really believe in. A sampling of that in some way may agree with my friend’s belief in reincarnation. I
have no memory of these photographs being taken at a crib in Buenos Aires. No,
I was not a camel in that other life. I was this guy. But I don’t remember.