Beds, Beds, & More Beds
A few days ago I scanned some negatives of a friend I photographed some years ago who now lives in Milan. Her name is Maddalena Di Gregorio. When she was in Vancouver we all called her Maggie. I would agree that the proper Italian version is far sexier (not that Maddalena has any problems with any lack of it).
I have very little memory of taking this picture of Maddalena on her day bed. I think it is pretty good. I know I was using a rather ancient Asahi Pentax S-3 and that the lens was a 28mm. The film was that very small grained Kodak Technical Pan with that extra red sensitivity so that skin has a luminous look. Yesterday it hit me that I could end 2011 with a bang by featuring in a blog some of the better (but alas conservative in content as I would not want to offend anybody reading and looking at this blog) pictures of the many women I have photographed in bed, near a bed or in my studio psychiatric couch which I liked to dress up as a bed while, simultaneously, my subjects did the opposite.
I had already written about the origins of the word bed (at least in Spanish) and this you can read below. It appeared in a blog here. In the other blog here, I mention a photographer I have always admired who died a few years ago. His name is J. Frederick Smith. The image I have scanned from his book Photographing Sensuality (Masters of Contemporary Photography) is the one that led me all these years to take the bed photographs. You will forgive me for showing some bits but I would never work on Smith’s picture to take out the possible offending part. It will have to do here. It was that picture and many by Helmut Newton (particularly some of Charlotte Rampling) that created my obsession on this most pleasant project which I would hope would be a project that I will continue in 2012. propter quod Angeli vocantur of caelis adnuntiandum hominibus ad mittuntur. Angelus enim Graeca, Latine dicitur Conscientia. Angels are called because they are sent from heaven to announce to men. It is said in Greek and Latin nuncio angel (sent to announce). St Isidore from his Etymology V The Angels A la cena y a la cama sólo una vez se llama. You are called only once to bed and to dine. Chilean proverb
Saint Isidore of Seville (570–636) was a bishop and a Doctor of the Church. He wrote just about everything from medicine to a book about the classifications of heaven’s angels. He attempted to catalogue what was then known to man in 20 books called De Los Orígenes (Of Origins) and he wrote the first encyclopedic dictionary. He divided his Of Origins into 20 books each on one category:
1. Grammar 2. Rhetoric and Dialectic 3. Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy 4. Medicine 5. Laws and time 6. the books and laws of the church 7. God, angels and men 8. the church and sects 9. languages, races, kingdoms and the armies 10. words in alphabetical order 11. man and monsters 12. animals 13. the universe and its parts, or cosmology 14. the earth and its divisions or geography 15. cities, fields and roads 16. minerals and metals 17. farmers and gardening 18. war and games 19. ships, buildings and clothing 20. Food and its tools.
For our purposes St. Isidore figures here for two very good reasons. He was the first to coin the word in Spanish cama (bed) from the Latin camba for a narrow bed used for sleeping or, as the Romans so much enjoyed, for eating.
Because it was St. Isidoro (Spanish for Isidore) who was really the first human to attempt to compile all human knowledge, Spanish scholars have declared him to be the patron saint of the internet. I would offer no objection seeing that this man knew about everything and beds, too. Thanks to him I can justify placing here these delightful pictures of Katheryn and the bed from room 618 at the Marble Arch Hotel.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.