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


Call Of The Wild - Horses
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In all my years as a freelancer in Vancouver weekends were really no different from weekdays. Then there are the perceived seasons. Every time I run into someone who asks me, “How was your summer?” I either answer sarcastically or I don’t answer at all. What is seen as sarcastic is when I explain that since I work when I can, I don’t necessarily have summer holidays. Summer can be just like any other season. Sometimes I cite that beautiful moment in the Robert Redford film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby. Redford (in white slacks) and someone else are walking on the side of swimming pool. It is a brilliant and sunny afternoon. One of them says to the other something like, “It was a fine summer.”

For a freelancer I think that every day is a scary Monday and more so now with a decline in the magazine business and the resulting decline in the need for photographs. But I have to admit that weekends are now weekends for me. Saturdays are the days when Rebecca and Lauren spend the day with us. I anticipate their coming days in advance and I feel a bit on the sad side when I drive them and their mother home on Saturday nights. Mondays are now special, too (and less scary) as we take care of the kidsin the afternoon. I pick them up at school and cook a quick lunch for them. Hilary shows up later for dinner.

This last Monday I took Rebecca and Lauren to the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library, Both girls are feeling comfortable with the place and Lauren who has learned to read in English in the last weeks (she is in French Immersion) is able to find books and sit at the small tables and make her selections to borrow. Rebecca sits on the floor and looks at her choices. She loses track of time. I found a 2000 film version of Jack London’s Call of the Wild. I knew I wanted the girls to see it. But I also knew I had my own reason. The lead actor is Italian born actor Nick Mancuso whom I met in Vancouver some years back. After dinner (Rosemary had to work with her laptop) the girls, Hilary and I watched the film which was truer to the novel than the 1935 version with Clark Gable in which the whole plot revolves on Gable running into Loretta Young in the frozen wilderness and the dangerous thaw that follows. At first Rebecca wanted to go home. She was soon drawn in by the beautiful dog, Buck. I made it like I was being bored and that I was going to turn it all off. Rebecca knew I was kidding. It was an enjoyable evening and when I delivered them home it felt like a Saturday night.

Today Rosemary and I pollarded the hawthorn tree in the front and even though I wore gloves I got many nasty thorn punctures. I spent the rest of the day trying to get rid of the pile of photographs, negatives and slides that perennially occupy the floor on the left of my computer and scanner. No matter how I hard I try, there is always a pile. The problem is that I find long lost stuff in it. Today I found a beautiful print of my grandmother Ellen Carter (sent to me by my uncle Leo Mahdjubian about 17 years ago) which I had lost for about 6. I also found a set of b+w negatives that included some of Rebecca and Lauren riding some brooms that they converted to horses with cloth heads and sewn-on buttons for eyes.

When I found them I became melancholy. It was Wednesday but it felt like Saturday or Monday. I believe I must have taken the photographs last summer.

Jay Gatsby: Summer's almost over. It's sad, isn't it? Makes you want to - I don't know - reach out and hold it back.
Nick Carraway: There'll be other summers.

For me there was last summer with the broom horses, this summer, and, I hope Nick is right and that there will be more summers to come.


Previous Posts
Triremes - A Kriegsmarine Submariner & A Leaky Bed...

Sam Sullivan's Project & The Project

High-Strung - Shadow/Highlight

Kiki de Montparnasse

Revealing The Serendipity Of Failure

Bishop's Castle, Capablanca, Capdevila & Chess

Dr. Burnett's Materiality

The Film Samuel Z. Arkoff Never Made

John Armstrong - Rebel Kind

Saved By Ibsen

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