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


Haven Saves A Loss
Thursday, March 05, 2009

A few months ago a good client of mine, a criminal law firm called me up for a job. It was an important job and when the lawyer decided on the pictures and gave me a call I went to look for the file. I could not find the pictures which were 6x7 cm transparencies. I looked everywhere an in particular those piles that the paperless digital revolution reneged on. My next step was to go to my diary and see what other jobs I may have done at the same time and perhaps I had inadvertently inserted the law firm’s pictures with them. That got me nowhere. By this point I was desperate. I told Rosemary, “If these guys choose to sue me we are going to be in serious trouble. They are very good.”

I went into the living room (where I keep my computer on a fine Edwardian desk overlooking my garden). Then I looked at a pile of big heavy books on a table. I have run out of space for books in my bookshelves so I put books on tables and place them (as neatly as I can) on piles on the floor. I rushed to the big heavy books as I remembered what I had done with the transparencies. Of late my film processor, the Lab has been having problems with film curl. It does not happen with Japanese films but it seems to plague Kodak Ektachrome and one faithful user. That’s me. In order for me to scan these transparencies I must place them under heavy books for a day or two to flatten them.

Today the scenario repeated itself but this time I have no magic bullet and my memory fails me as I have looked for the pictures of another law firm (personal injury). I took them a year and a half ago. I kept the high resolution scan files in my computer until about two months ago. Then I purged them knowing I have the originals safely filed. That is not the case. I have spent long hours going through all the different kinds of misspellings and variants to the firm’s name. It would take many weeks to look into every file (about 12 four-drawer filing cabinets full of stuff).

While looking for the pictures in those files on the floor (I always seem to be behind in my filing) I found a Polaroid of a luscious blond. I thought and thought of her name but my memory was frazzled. It finally came. I remember the day some years ago. It has to be at least 15 years since the background is a hand painted brown canvas backdrop. They had been in vogue in those days although by then their popularity was in decline. Tony Ricci had called me one day. “Alex I want you to do me a favour. I want you to photograph a girl I know. She has a young daughter. She is a bit lost. Maybe she can model. Please take her picture for me. Her name is Haven.”

I did. In my files under Haven I found exactly 9 b+w images. I don't recall why it is that I took so few. Nine pictures and one Polaroid, that's all there is of Haven.

I called her weeks later and delivered my contacts to her. At the time she was working as a hairdresser in a very nice downtown salon. I never heard from her again.

Today Haven made my day.


Late today Thursday with my mind relaxed after gazing at the calm beauty of Haven I can report that I have found the lost transparencies.


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