Leonardo Da Vinci & Robertson Davies's GlassesSaturday, June 23, 2007
In November 1994 when Robertson Davies posed for me in the Sun Room of the Vancouver Hotel he tried to railroad me into taking his picture with his eye glasses in his mouth.
I had seen this photograph many times taken by different photographers all over Canada. Davies always managed to look like the distinguished man of letters we all thought he was. This he was. But in close contact with him in the room, with his charming wife Brenda knitting, the experience was different from what I thought it was going to be. I was a bit intimidated when I walked into the room but in no time Davies had me relaxed.
I told him that as I child I had been an admirer of Leonardo da Vinci and I had even copied, with charcoal on paper, da Vinci's self potrait. I told Davies that I was determined to make him look like Leonardo. The process involved taking a normal b+w photograph which I then converted into a b+w transparency (slide). I used some German Uhu glue to stick the b+w slide on my living room window. I then re-photographed this with Polaroid, first in b+w Polaroid and then with colour Polaroid.
All along the process I felt that somehow I had been in the presence of Leonardo da Vinci, albeit a charming one who spoke beautiful English. A few days later I received a pleasant note from Brenda Davies which included three snapshots she took of me in action. I was thrilled!