I met two Tanyas in my life and both were voluptuously beautiful. The first, was called Tany do Nascimento and I met her one evening in Santos Brazil in 1966. The second Tanya was Tanya Blake and she posed for me in my studio and then in room 615 of the Marble Arch around 1988. The second Tanya suffered through my photographic uncertainty and a lack of purpose. How was I suppose to photograph a beautiful woman in a cheap hotel room? I was experimenting with glamour lighting. My guess is that if she suffered fools she did so silently and through her I eventually found my way. I knew the first Tanya even less. The two young officers of the ELMA (Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas) motor vessel Rio Aguapey had gone on shore leave when their ship docked to load coffee beans and machinery in the Brazilian port of Santos. I was the only passenger so I was invited to go along. We three were Argentines and thought ourselves superior to all Brazilians. We felt we were better at futbol, in sailing ships and in the conquest of women. We went to a cafe. We were soon joined by three delightful and beautiful women. The most forward of them was my first Tanya. We three looked at each other and simultaneously thought, “We are so handsome and manly that we are getting the pick of the lot.” Tanya went into her handbag and produced what looked like a solid gold cigarette case. She opened it and offered us what I immediately recognized as pastel coloured , Balkan Sobranies made to order. My two officer friends were in their glory. The three ladies suggested we go dancing at a nearby cabaret. We arrived and we compared notes on our money situation. We were going to order rum. Rum is cheap in Brazil. The ladies ordered Scotch. At that point I told the two smiling officers, “We have been had, let’s go before we lose all our money.”
As we left we decided that Brazilian men were more worthy of our respect.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.