Anna Wyman — 1928–11 July 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Anna Wyman — Circa late 70s — all photographs Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

It has taken 77 years for my concept of space and time to change, even after having read here and there about Einsteinian time and space. It all suddenly changed for me some twelve years ago when Vancouver contemporary dancers Emily Molnar and Crystal Pite discussed space, time and movement in my studio.

The shortest definition of relativistic movement I have ever heard came from Molnar (35) who said, “ Movement is the observer.” This means that from a position of rest we the observers can discern the movement of a dancer on stage. Of time Pite (37) said, “ The ephemeral of dance exists only in the present movement. We are left with traces of movements that are gone as they are being created. As we carve space with our bodies they leave a ghost, the trail which affects our future moves and informs the observer of our past moves.”

I then understood that those past moves are much like the contrails that high-flying jets leave in the sky.

For many years I have photographed dancers in portraits and dancing. I have frozen their movement with a fast shutter a few times but I have mostly opted for the blurring swirls that show movement more, than the peak (when movement is zero) in a studio.

On Saturday I read the obituary for Anna Wyman in the Vancouver Sun. This was an unusual one as it was written by her former husband, Max Wyman who was (is) a paragon of stable pragmatism in this century that seems to lack it. He is, thankfully alive but my writer friends Sean Rossiter and Mark Budgen are not. I miss them as I miss the very much alive David Baines and Maurice Bridge.

Anna Wyman & Trevor Wyman

In the last few days I have spoken on the phone with architect Alan James, GeorgiaStraight Editor Charlie Smith and one of the fewVancouver Sun writesr still writing, John Mackie. These folks converse without ranting and do so with as much objectivity as possible.

All the above is just ancillary to how much I enjoyed (but in sadness, too) Max Wyman’s obituary.

I went to my file looking for Wyman, Anna. All I could find was Wyman, Max. Then I remembered that I have a separate file called Dance. And that is where I found Wyman, Anna.

Not too long ago I read that space in magazines and newspapers is limited but on the net it is infinite. In the file I found four sets of negatives. It seems I photographed Anna Wyman twice. In the late 70s (when I took these photographs) I did not have the habit of dating the envelope containing the negatives and contact sheets.

I do know that the magazine that sent me twice to take the pictures was Vancouver Magazine. In those early days I remember a gentleman with long, leonine hair that frequented the magazine. That is when I first met Max Wyman. As to who would have written the article for which my photograph was used (of the early session only one was used). Of the second session which I took with a medium format camera I exposed only 9 frames (one roll of 120 film).

When I looked that the contact sheets (3) of that early session I suddenly realized that these were my first ever dance photographs. In a couple of photographs you will see Anna Wyman and Max Wyman’s son Trevor.

I believe that John Mackie may have called Max Wyman to ask him to write the obituary. If he did this was a brilliant idea. Both Mackie and I agree on the sad fact that Vancouver has a poor memory for its past. I have no idea how many people are subscribed to the Vancouver Sun (we are) so I wonder how many people might know of the death of the dance pioneer that Anna Wyman was?

My photographs while tactile (I touched the negatives to scan them) somehow felt like the above comments on space and time by Molnar and Pite.They were fleeting. I remember having photographed mother and son. But that was it. I am a tad proud of the fact that my first photos of dance (Kodak Tri-X) are not all that bad. They prove to me that my memory, not really forgotten, but newly remembered in quantity did happen.

I feel lucky for that.

Originally published at

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at: