A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Anastasia Of The Three Milnes
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My relationship with the three Milne sisters came about as an addendum to my friendship with fellow photographer Ian McGuffie. I first met Carol Milne when she worked at Lens & Shutter in the early 80s. I remember her as a glamourous woman who had a penchant for wearing magnolias in her hair. In subsequent gatherings with her at the Railway Club she came to the conclusion I was a chauvinist pig and all shields were up. The fact that I indicated I wanted to photograph her lovely cleavage might have been part of the problem. A second sister, whose name I have forgotten, was a bus driver when I first met her. Our conversations were pleasant. The third sister, Anastasia, was much more elusive, glamourous and mysterious. She would appear at parties at Carol's house with a young man she mostly igored. She moved exactly like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Sometime in the early 90s Ian suggested we photograph Anastasia together. This was an odd request. I never chose to ask Ian if in his past he had a relationship with either Carol or Anastasia, but there was something there. In the early 90s I was exploring photographic sensuality in my version of Helmut Newton. Since I could not find luxurious Paris hotels for my experiments I made Tony Ricci's Marble Arch my headquarters and in particular one of the better rooms that featured a sitting room, a separate bathroom and an ominous chain lock on the door.

With my shoot with Anastasia I further tried out an extremely sharp film, Technical Pan and I used both my conventional medium format camera and a 6x9 inch German Gevabox. The latter was a fixed focus and most primitive box camera. The first picture, top left, is an example of the Gevabox.

Tony gave me access to two rooms and the procedure was that one of us would wait in one room while the other would take photographs of Anastasia. I never saw Ian's pictures and he indicated that Anastasia hated mine. I quickly buried the negatives in my files. Looking at them now I don't think they are all that bad. I did learn one thing and that was to appreciate torn nylons.

Perhaps I simply never got past a perfunctory knowledge of what the Milne sisters were all about.


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