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


Joanne Dahl - Yielding Flesh
Sunday, May 20, 2007

I used to mix corn starch with the white wine in my cheese fondue so it would not curdle. I used to make sure that my bowl, whisk and ingredients, including the eggs, were at the same temperature when I made mayonnaise. A few years back, I began to ignore it all. The fondue never curdles and the oil never separates from the egg yolks. It would seem that in cooking like in English, as Winston Churchill allegedly once said, one has to learn the rules in order to break them.

The same applies to photography. And I have noticed other similarities with cooking. I have learned to understand that photography is much like being a cook for an evening dinner in which the cook does not know how many are coming or if there are any vegetarians or Kosher Jews in the mix. One has to be prepared for everything. My photographic palette is like a recipe book. I pull out the one that will function with the circumstances that apply.

My photographic recipe book is made up of recipes that I have discovered with years of experimentation. In some cases as in these pictures, they were never used or even liked (by my subject) but nonetheless, I learned something from the experience. I used fast colour slide film (Ektachrome 800) which I pushed and exposed with no flash. The photographs might have been improved if I had used reflectors on the dark side to diminish the contrast. But then I had to learn my lesson.

These pictures are at least 23 years old and at the time I was interested (as most younger men might) in why erotic photographs were erotic. I may have even taken these studies to show that beautiful cleavage had nothing to do with breast size. I do believe that is true but that is not earth shaking knowledge now for me as it might have been then. I do remember calling up Joanne and asking her what was erotic.

Her reply was short, "Yielding flesh."


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