|Karen Gerbrecht - violinist
It was during a Buenos Aires carnaval in 1950 when I noticed something that began my confusion on sexuality. I was with my parents in the Buenos Aires Subte (subway). Leaning onto the back of the car in front of us was a naked back. It was supposed to be a woman but it did not look like one. How was I to know at age 8 that it was a man dressed as a woman?
Since then the backs of people, especially that of women, have been in my mind when I pick up a camera.
My grandmother Dolores Reyes de Irureta Goyena was born in the 19th century and lived in Spain. Her vocabulary was full of cautionary euphemism of the Victorian kind.
An espalda is Spanish for the back of the person from shoulders to waist. Thus a person’s back is not necessarily a clear term. My grandmother would say “donde la espalda pierde su nombre”. The expression plays on the exclusivity of the word espalda and it translates to the back of a person before it loses its name. This was her way of saying bum without using the word bum.
First violinist of the Vancouver Symphony (she may be semi-retired now) was a dashing readhead that I photographed many times. Here I will feature her back.