The Video Rental Girl Stretches
The innocence and blindness of youth is evident in the picture above. I mean my innocence and a relative youth. I was 38 when I snapped the picture. I remember next to nothing, including the girl’s name, except that the store where I took this picture was in North Vancouver and that it had cult status. The store was well known for having a good stock of horror films. I was dispatched by Vancouver Magazine art director Rick Staehling to snap a picture. I have been filing stuff in the last few days and the envelope labeled Video Girl — Horror Movie always leaves me at a loss as to how to file correctly. So I usually throw it into a huge pile of equally difficult to file photos. They are there because I have forgotten the name of my subjects or they may be family photos I have to consult with Rosemary to find an approximate date (at least a year) so I can file those in our family cabinet. This time around I plan to insert the negatives and contacts of Video Girl into a file called just that. Rick Staehling was a bit fussy about using pictures that might be a bit too sexy. He was very keen (an American by birth but Canadian in that most Canadian temperament to not offend) so he ran an innocuous version of the picture you see here.
I wonder if I was naïve or I actually made the young woman stretch out, and emphasize her breasts in the juxtaposition of the horror image on the TV. If there is some sort of Garry Winogrand/Diane Arbus weirdness about this photograph I must not take any credit for it. I went to take my picture in North Vancouver and I pressed the shutter 19 times. There are only two like this one. This is the better version as there is more stretch!
And the picture does have some archival/historical importance. Notice that behind the girl there is a Sony Betamax poster.
Perhaps, only now, I understand that there might have been another reason for the cult status of the North Van Vancouver Video Station. It could have been the girl herself. For years I happily patronized Megamovies (now a Rogers Video Store, subsequently closed in 2014) on 15th and Oak. There were three reasons for going there. They had a good stock (then) of old movies and there were two more, both on Virve Reid’s chest.
Addendum: It is strange but I do remember the equipment I used to take the picture. My camera was a Pentax Spotmatic-F with a 28mm lens. My film was that extremely sharp Kodak Technical Pan. I used an umbrella and an Ascor (long retired) QC-1000 studio flash. And for the picture above of Virve Reid it was a Mamiya RB-67 and Ilford FP-4 220 with available light.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.