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


The Reverse Strip & A Visual Wit Of Omission
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In wit of omission you say, "I could say this and make you laugh but I am not." It is a low form of wit as you really never have to come through with the goods. In this blog in the last few days I have been using its poor cousin which I call, wit of visual omission. Early on, three years ago I decided that in this blog I would not accept comments. I did not want to be at the mercy of some freak who would not let go. Another decision I made was that I would never (I may have broken this once or twice) post a nude. I would resort to that horrible sounding contemporary term, the implied nude!

If 2009 is settling into a post feminist (in the strict meaning of the word) period I would hope that I would not need much justification to show you pictures of some of the beautiful women that have faced my camera in the last 37 years. I am sure that some of my blog fans might concur.

When Shannon Keir faced my camera in the outfit you see here I had seen her without it at the Number 5. She had a beautiful body, and a face that made her seem younger than 20 even though she was in her mid 20s. When I took these pictures, perhaps some 18 years ago I was young enough that my goal was to get her down to nothing in as little time as possible. Those are the pictures that in my visual wit of omission I cannot show you. These will have to do.

If Shannon showed up in my studio now I would probably reverse the order of my session. I would have her take her clothes off immediately, take some pictures and then go for the serious clothed ones.

The film that I used here is a Kodak film that faced what Kodak called discontinuance. It was called Technical Pan. It was a very sharp film (the sharpest film ever made anywhere by anybody!) that had an extended range into the red spectrum to better capture the detail of a solar flare. That is what Tech Pan was designed for. It was a scientific film. But then even though we photographers are usually not scientific we like to break the rules. Any film with red sensitivity will make skin seem whiter and cleaner. It will make it glow almost like Kodak infra red film (also in discontinuance, alas!).

Looking at Shannon in Technical Pan I see some a bit of the look of some of the Flemish portraits that I have so admired in galleries like the Metropolitan in New York, the National Gallery in Washington DC, the Prado in Madrid and the Louvre. Perhaps it must be the normal reaction of my 66 year-old body but I am really much more interested in these portraits than to gaze on Shannon's exquisite breasts, slim body and long legs.

It hit home today when I was reading a review of a memoir Somewhere Toward the End written by London book editor, Diana Athill (91) who writes: "A positive aspect of waning sex (Athill says she ceased to be a sexual being in her 70s) was that other things became more interesting." I must concur with Athill as I gaze on Shannon's face and see a lot more than my eyes for nudity-this-instant hid from me.

It was perhaps around 7 years ago that out of the blue I received a call from Shannon who said, "I have a white horse here in Langley. I will call you again in a few days so that you can photograph me in the barn with my horse. I am not going to be wearing anything." Shannon never called back.


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Lisa Ha - The Mystery Of The Exotic

El Buen Tono

Alice Munro, Joshua Bell & By The Metro Station I ...

A Ghost Of A Horrific Christmas Past

An Intimate Conspiracy & A Sweet Tooth

On Feeling American & Forrest Wright

Suna no Onna

One Wise King - Not

Las Hermanas En Los Vestiditos Negros

Billiken, Potential Energy & Kanfer's Brando

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