Lauren Not at the Uffizi but...
Saturday, December 30, 2023
|Lauren Elizabeth Stewart - Christmas Eve 2018
Digital technology associated with my 19 year-old
Photoshop 8 in which I work on my images on my 15 or more year-old Cathode Ray
Tube Monitor is a fun thing that distracts me on those strange days between
Christmas and New Year’s.
I wrote about my technique of grossly underexposing my Fuji
X-E3 exposures and using the magical f-stop f7.1. But I had forgotten that on
Christmas Eve 2018 I had used that technique and in particular somehow I had
not noticed this shot of Lauren who is now 21. I worked on it using my
Photoshop 8 to make the picture resemble some of the paintings that Rosemary
and I saw at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence some years back. And the photograph
with her sister Rebecca is lovely, too.
On a Nothing Day
On a Nothing Day
|Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' 29 December 2023
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' In Remembrance of Rosemary
As a little boy the days after Christmas and before the
Epiphany on January 6 seemed to be a century long. In my Buenos Aires of 1950,
the Three Wise Men left fabulous toys by the shoes we put outside of our rooms.
There were some toys we ignored. These were wooden toys given to us by Eva
Perón. We would instantly throw them away. Now anyone who may have kept them
could sell them for a fortune.
Today is December 30. It is neither New Year’s Eve nor
Boxing Day. It is a nothing day. It is a perfect day to do nothing which is
something I did today until I was hit by the guilt that I have to write my
diary (which is what my blog is and I don’t give a hoot if you read it or leave
In the last few weeks I have been shooting portraits with
a technique that I explained here (link below). I have further narrowed it down by asking my
subjects to put their hands on their chest.
One in Silence
Then I had the idea of what would happen if I were to use
this one shot technique on a plant. It was not to be as I ended up taking three
photographs. I am happy with the results which show a plant not at all like
most photographs done now that are ultra-sharp,
have perfect colour and look as good as real.
Photographers have forgotten or are not aware how when film
was used there was a lot of experimental shooting to get stuff that was
different. Pristine perfection is now the norm. My one shot portraits have odd
colour and noise that looks like the grain of fast film of yore. I like it and
it satisfies me.
That is all that counts.
|Alan James - Architect 14 December 2023
|Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward - Teacher - 28 December 2023
|Bruce Phillips - Geek Squad - 15 December 2023
|Hannah Parkhouse - Model - 16 December 2023
|Jeff Gin - Manager - Kerrisdale Cameras on Lonsdale - 29 November 2023
|Julian Beairsto - Dancer - 21 November 2023
|Carlos Loyola - Tango Dancer/Health Worker - 25 December 2023
Elena Garro - Two Anastasias - & Greta Garbo
Friday, December 29, 2023
|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
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.
She Was Going to Glock Me
Thursday, December 28, 2023
Inventor of the Gun That Bears His Name, Dies at 94 on December 27. A reclusive
Austrian billionaire, he created the handgun worn by two-thirds of America’s
police officers and the security forces of at least 48 countries.
“She’s not my
sweetheart anymore. She was going to glock me.”chap. 29, p. 261,
Maria's Girls - Jerome Charyn
Gaston Glock wrote
Jerome Charyn a thank you note 30 years ago.
In my four years in a Catholic school, St. Edward’s High
School in Austin Texas beginning in 1958, my fabulous teachers, Brothers of the
Congregation of Holy Cross, taught me very well. One way of making us
interested (in a century without the distractions of cell phones and the
internet/Google) was to shower us with what we thought were useless facts.
This is why I know, and few Americans don’t, that there
was a third Texan president besides Lyndon Johnson and George Bush pater. This
was Dwight Eisenhower who was born in Denison, Texas. I was told this by
Brother Francis Barrett, C.S.C. in his American History class.
Brother Hubert Koeppen, C.S.C. told us about the first incidence
of someone taking a bath in ancient history. Alexander and his father were
destroying most of Thebes. Alexander went to Pindar the poets house. Pindar was
out in the garden sunning himself. Alexander told him, “I admire you so I have
saved your house from being razed.” Pindar replied, “Move out of the sun you
are blocking it.” To this Alexander
said, “If I were not me, Alexander, I would like to be you.”
On Wednesday when I spotted the Gaston Glock obituary in
my NYTimes I immediately remembered an interesting (useless?) fact of the first
person to use glock as a verb. It was my friend, novelist Jerome Charyn in his
novel Maria’s Girls (one of a series involving a wonderful left-wing police
commissioner who becomes in the last of the series, president of the United
I fished the book from my library and was further reinforced
in gazing at the lovely cover by a very good and very short female designer who
goes by one name – Bascove.
And there is another Jerome Charyn novel where a policeman is shot to death while playing ping-pong. The first Canadian Paliamentary Poet Laureate George Bowering has read 66 of Charyn's books including the one about ping-pong.
The Scanner - Obsolete State of the Art?
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
In that last century,
a friend I miss as he died, Mark Budgen, in his own inimitable way predicted this
one. I called him and when he answered he said, “I cannot talk to you know as I
am monitoring a fax.”
accurate in knowing that now, more than ever, folks don’t want to talk on the
phone and would rather be texted. Budgen did not know that his state-of-the-art
fax machine would be obsolete in this 21st century.
another device (far more advanced than the fax machine) that now is overlooked
by many but not by me. This is the good flatbed scanner. Mine is an Epson
PerfectionV700 Photo. I use it to scan my negatives, slides, transparencies
(large slides) and photographs. I use it to scan the plants from my gardens.
These plant scanographs, as I call them, I have done since 2001. I now have
over 3000 of them. I also use my scanner as a tabletop camera as the image
illustrating this blog shows.
that most people have a family album that is put away and rarely seen. Because
I have a very good filing system, most of the photographs (and family
photographs) that I have ever taken either with film or with digital devices
like my Fuji X-E3, iPhone3G and Galaxy 5 phone, are safely stored in duplicate
exterior hard drives.
But I can
happily report that my scanner is now manifesting an interesting purpose I
never thought of. In the last few weeks I have been perusing over the stored
family albums. I have one for Rosemary and me, one for my oldest daughter
Alexandra, one for the younger one Hilary and one for my own family from Spain,
the Philippines and Argentina.
spotted this 1& ¼ by 1& ¾ inch tiny picture of a very young Rosemary. I
had never noticed it. I scanned it and then made a print on inkjet transparency
material mated with a silver cardboard (why not?). It is astounding the level
of detail that my scanner has been able to achieve when I enlarged it to almost
another (almost pleasant) feeling of seeing the enlarged portrait of Rosemary. It
is almost like seeing her for the first time, before I ever met her. She was
alive and had a whole future in front of her. Little did she know that it was a
future that would have me as her companion for 52 years.
This is blog 5978.
Rosemary in Her Camellia
I have no memory when we bought this metal wreath that has
been on our door (all year) both in Kerrisdale and now in Kitsilano for a long time.
Today I decided I wanted to record the beauty of Camellia
sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ which was a fave of Rosemary’s. On a lark three weeks ago I
went to Garden Works on Lougheed Highway and found it with lots of buds. It
would have made Rosemary smile to see it in bloom right at Christmas.
While I do not believe in ghosts or any human presence in
some other world, somehow it seems to me, that something of Rosemary is in this
And in my melancholy over her loss I find myself smiling