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


Deborah Does Not Endorse Gleem With GL-70
Friday, February 01, 2008

It always comes as a shock when I travel to Latin America. In Argentina, four years ago I kept seeing an ad for toothpaste that featured a gorgeous Argentine woman in a bikini. In Mérida last year I was perplexed by huge beer ads similar to the one advertising Howard Hughes's The Outlaw with Jane Russell. The ad read something like, "Two good reasons to drink.....beer."

It comes as a shock because we now rarely take advantage of the female form to sell products in Canada. I could not explain our attitude to my Argentine relatives who kept suggesting we Canadians did not have a sense of fun or a passion for life. And when I remember my friend Juan Manuel Sanchez sketching one of our live nude models in my studio I think that the answer must lie somewhere in between.

But what is one to do when the phone rings as it did some years ago and the very English Deborah, an acquaintance from my days at Wreck Beach said, "I need you to record my body before nature settles in." What do do? I always comply without feeling too guilty of any kind of exploitation. After all I am not selling the photographs and no product is being advertised.

But I have a nagging suspicion that many years from now when some very different imaging technology will be reigning in society these b+w photographs will have their charm, a charm that they presently have for me.


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