Thursday, April 16, 2020

Better than Shoelaces

The Woman from Whiskey Creek II

The Woman from Whiskey Creek


Del ingl. selfie, der. de self ‘uno mismo’.

1. m. autofoto. U. t. c. f.

RAE Diccionario de la Real Academia Española

In that ancient and past century I remember how most of us did not like to listen to tape recordings of our voices or seeing pictures of ourselves taken by others. I had a distant relative we called Pardelillo who lived inViña del Mar, Chile who would mail us portraits of himself. All my grandmother would do upon receiving them was to smile.When they piled up she would throw them away.

In his visits to Buenos Aires he would go with my grandmother and mother to the shopping district on Avenida Cabildo and Juramento to look for joyería de fantasía (costume jewelry). In those years I had no inkling of the existence of gay men. This is something I now understand. But what was it that made Pardelillo a harbinger of things to come, the 21st century obsession with exhibiting oneself in the portrait/self portrait?

There are two words which were used in that 20th century which have all but disappeared. I was cautioned when I started seeing a lovely Argentine girl that her mother was a nymphomaniac. That other word with rare coinage these days is exhibitionist.

Cindy Sherman may be the most successful American photographer these days. She only photographs herself to express social values or to protest them. She uses many costumes and makeup. I don’t have much fondness for her photographs.

In that century, and in the 1950s Bunny Yeager thought that the men who photographed her were dolts. So she began to take her own portraits. She became so good that she may have been singly responsible for the amazing popularity of Bettie Page whom she photographed with two chettahs, Mojah and Mbili, at the Boca Raton, Florida wildlife park, Africa USA. Page who could sew very well made the outfit she wore in the famous photograph.

The only kind of selfie that I allow myself is the once-a-year photograph that I take on my birthday in front of a mirror. I also like to photograph many of my subjects facing a mirror so that I appear behind, covered by my camera.

I do not understand why women, especially, post photographs of themselves in social media. The bulk of them are terrible phone selfies that disfigure their faces. The softening of their face skin makes them even more abominable to my eyes.

With all that out of the way I would like to introduce my new friend Emily Lauren. I wrote about her here. She has a talent of taking the most beautiful self-portraits which because of the quarantine I can only see in my monitor from the Messenger videos she sends me when we connect. These I re-photograph with my Fuji X-E3. I think that I can live with the unsharpness and the texture of my monitor in the photos. It is part of the charm.

There is one constant in all these photographs that Emily Lauren takes. There is a constant sadness in her eyes. I have no idea why this is the case. But I do recognize a new thing when I see it. I hope she persists with this talent which so few in this century seem to have. It is the talent of style.

Link to: Autofoto

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