Saturday, August 22, 2020
1. having or
enclosed by a cloister, as in a monastery.
cloistered walkway bordered the courtyard"
2. kept away from the outside world; sheltered. "a
I dislike the term lockdown, and other words used to our
world’s present situation. The word cloistered seems to me a more adequate and
a bit more friendly word to describe what is my state of affairs. So I can
thusly write I am in a cloister in Kitsilano.
And with all this time in my hands I find myself trying
to find the value of the stuff in my house. There is a lot of it even though
when we moved from Kerrisdale we did a lot (that what my now 18 year-old
granddaughter called it) dumpomatic.
Consider the possible value (as in my personal
estimation, nothing to do with money) of the 18 sessions I had with the
devastatingly beautiful Katheryn. What you see here are two scanned photographs
on a contact sheet from a shoot in my Kerrisdale tub. They were part of a show
I had of over 12 women that I posed more or less in the same way in the tub.
From about 75 photographs that I took of Katheryn I had to pick one. It became
my invitation card in the 1990 show. The photograph is striking and dramatic.
But what of the others? I even shot some in colour
I can also safely write here that all my negatives of all
these beautiful women are cloistered in my oficina. Who will see them when I am
I have no idea but I wrote about that here.
Those Chicks Made My Day
Friday, August 21, 2020
Watching the DNC with my Rosemary on MSNBC and our reaction is something that
I would not want to discuss here and bring up my political ideas in a time of
extreme polarization. My politics like my religion I keep to myself.
But there is one aspect that I expand on without offending
anybody. It has to do with feeling a nationality (a pride of nationality). With
me this is complex.
Consider that my
maternal grandmother was born in Manila but raised in19th century Spain. I feel
Consider that my
mother was born in Manila. I feel Filipino.
Consider that my
father was born in Buenos Aires but his parents were from Manchester. I feel
Consider that I was
born in Buenos Aires. I feel Argentine.
Consider that with my
mother and grandmother we moved to Mexico. I married my Canadian wife in Mexico
City. Our two daughters were born in Tacubaya, Mexico City. I feel Mexican.
Consider that I had a
high school education in Austin, Texas. I feel both Texan and American.
Consider that my
Rosemary, our two daughters and I have lived in Vancouver since 1975. I am a
Canadian Citizen. I feel Canadian.
Since my Rosemary and I have been reading the NY Times with
breakfast in bed for 20 years we are up to date with the U.S.A. I have
relatives and friends who live in Florida, California, North Carolina,Washington
State, Texas and Oregon.
We watched the DNC with a lot of interest. But there was a
point on the last day when what I watched and heard hit my insides and I felt
terribly (wonderfully) American.
I listened to the Chicks (formerly Dixie) sing an a capella Star-Spangled Banner.
In the mid 50s when my mother taught in an American school in
Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico in a two-room schoolhouse I was in the 8th
grade with five other boys. My mother often played the piano for us. Our two
favourite songs were the Marine Hymn of the Republic and the Star-Spangled
Banner. In my advanced age of 78 I know the beginning lyrics of the Argentine,
Mexican, American and Canadian National Anthems. But my fave is the Star-Spangled Banner.
The version by the Chicks is absolutely awesome. I felt
patriotic and proud without denigrating those other nationalities that I also
feel. I slept well last night.
Chicks Star-Spangled Banner
Rags Flags and Citizenship
On Being a Texan
Tarren - That Cure for Melancholy
Thursday, August 20, 2020
In these days of incarceration and with summer coming to an
end, it is easy to fall into a deep melancholy. Fortunately I live with three
entities (the human one my Rosemary) and the not quite, our brother and sister
cats Niño and Niña.
There are other ways of relieving melancholy. For me it is
to go into my oficina and look at four extremely full drawers of my extensive
28 drawers that contain negatives, slides, contact sheets, etc. The digital
photographs from my two digital cameras and our phones are now going into one terabyte
exterior hard drives in themes.
The four drawers in question are called Woman and they are
arranged in alphabetical order of the women that since about 1968 I have
Not too long ago I could call many of the women in the
drawers and simply ask, “Want to do pictures?” No reason had to be given. These
women would show up in my studio at the appointed time and they would pose.
Many times I had ideas or themes. But many times this was not the case and I
would (pardon the horrible expression) go with the flow.
I photographed all kinds of women. They were young,
middle-aged and old. They were of all races including an exotic woman who was
part Danish and part native Greenlander. Some were actresses (I am old-fashioned
and I like that word), some were dancers or artists. And some were women I
would notice in the street or in a café and I would go up to them and show them
my card (when people had cards).
It would seem that in this century all of the above is gone.
As I go through my files I often go to the Ts and stop at
Without any doubt she is the most beautiful in body and
spirit woman I have ever photographed. My first pictures of her I took
sometime around 1981. Over the years I had exactly ten sessions with her. Some
of them we did not too long ago.
I can state that Tarren qualifies for my extreme aesthetic
opinion of her because of a combination of body, face, personality and a presence
that I cannot nail down.
When I look at her pictures I find myself smiling and
listening to that sassy voice of hers, “Hi Alex,” which is what she said to me
at the end of a Coal Harbour peer (wearing extremely short, shocking pink hot
pants) in which the pilot of the de Havilland Beaver bringing me from a CBC job
in Egmont almost crashed when he saw her standing there.
No, I cannot feel melancholy today. I can look back at my
life, and in spite of all those famous men and women I have photographed, I know
that what has made my life special is contained in four metal drawers of my
Allan Fotheringham - A Little Remnant of Journalism Now Left in My Soul
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
|August 31, 1932 – August 19, 2020
Journalist Allan Fotheringham died today. Of him I have
written many times in blogs here:
Allan Fotheringham - Don't be Beguiled
Allan's Mistress Allan via Bert Stern
I photographed him many times. One of the reasons
is that writer and former gossip columnist of Vancouver Magazine, Valerie
Gibson, made it a point to pitch Editor Malcolm Parry a story on the man with
There is nothing that I can add here to what I know of
Fotheringham that would be of interest to anyone getting this far.
But I have another angle that is personal to me that I
will elaborate on. With Fotheringham’s death there is an almost empty shell in
me that at one time was full. It was a container in my psyche that had the
excitement of magazine assignments and of meeting people who in that past
century were called journalists. They used typewriters, went to libraries for
research, and most of all, they tried to write with some form of objectivity.
They had style and substance. Some of this stuff rubbed off on me. Now with
this man gone I know that I am at the end of a road that almost certainly will dead-end.
Below you will find a set of instructions by noted Canadian designer Barbara
Solowan and her aide Mary Jo Fitzgibbon. These were faxed when some
photographers like yours truly carried a device called a pager.
Detailed instructions on how to take a photograph for a
magazine were challenging, interesting and fun. That is all gone.
|Followed Solowan's instruction. Note gutter
|Socred Convention in Whistler July 20 1986 - 9AM!
Thanks to Wikipedia today I have found out that I shared my birthday with the man.