Assisting 100 pt 0

Black and White image,full length shot of a young Caucasian woman wearing a grown.

My first gig as an assistant was gotten for me by my mother. After I had tried working with my mother, doomed from the start. Working with my mother doing collections was hell, she found a small pillow in the closet that she accused me of storing there. Again and again I told her it wasn’t mine, she thought I’d had girls up to her office. One of her girl’s finally said it was hers, I turned on my mother and told her to apologies. I told her that the word she was trying not to say was I’m sorry; no apologies I walked out.

B & W image, late 1960's, high school friend, abandon night club, golf course, female model, white pants suit.

I wanted to do theater work for the school, and since working with the AV Department junior school, now I would be working on school plays. But that wasn’t good enough for the dear, I got the word just as I was about to climb up into the catwalks on a newbie the tour. I did not know what I wanted to make my life work, but I’d know it when I found it, it sure as hell wasn’t working in a 9 to 5 environment. So to make it up to me she found a friend who had a photographer brother. So began a life long obsessions.

Young, dark haired, night gown, old house in the countryside, overgrown weeds.

I had seen the ​​​​​​​​​​​​​”Blow-Up”, the movie loosely based of the English photographer Harry Benson I believe. I learned very quickly that as a lowly assistant, I was not the one to roll around with models. But as the owner of a set of keys to the studio it had it’s benefits. I have always found a draw to the human face, female faces in particular. Throw in an old building with a window I will find a model. So my knowledge of the basics of photography and the darkroom got me hired.

High school friend, black hair very cool girl and a beauty.Black haired beauty with a piece of her hair in her mouth.

Along with my basic knowledge, and knowing how to answer a phone got me an introduction to the duties of an assistant. Clean the toilet each morning then sweep the place, and making coffee. As for shooting that was accomplished with the aid of hot lights, so I needed to know how to change a HOT light bulb. This was seat of your pants photography, most was daylight setups. I learned how to develop film as well as prints. Many long hours spent over rolls of 35mm film both Back and White and of Transparencies. One summer he hired another guy to work there as well, that summer we cleaned the drum drier canvas belt. That included putting the damn thing back together with the weight roller to provide tension.

Latnia young womam, sitting in window, black hair, head and shoulders, Black and White images.

We both got press passes that allowed us onto the grounds to Hemisfair, the state’s attempt at a worlds fair. The extra bonus was that having a press pass allowed us into the Press Club just for journalist. They allowed all journalist to drink, though the state did not. Same thing for the main Press Club just for journalist and their guess’s. But the real draw of the press pass was access to places without paying the admission to. We used those passes for all they were worth. We practically lived at Hemifair that summer.

Black and white image, silhouette of a woman, abandon house, overgrown weeds and sky.

But all things come to an end, I soon left the photographer I worked with, went on to the local newspaper.

Canadian Sojourn Part 9

Head-shot, young singer, red haired, with freckles .

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


I did mentioned that there were girls there? I should also let you know that these were sweet girls of the 60ish to the 70’s kind of girls. And their dad’s did everything required of a 60’s right up to the 70’s dad; add a dash of 50’s thrown in. But they were fine girls everyone of them, among them some really cool sister’s. Sixteen and seventeen I believe, high-school girls, and their little sister came in as any between thirteen to fifteen. I do not remember meeting them, suddenly they were a part of the general group of young I was apart of.

Looking thoughtful, sitting on stool, young woman, cigarete, neckless.

The older girl and really hit it off, we grew into best pals pretty quickly. She had a guy that she knew from the camp growing up. Eventually I met the parents, and of course was asked to stay for dinner. The mom was everybody’s mom, very warm and friendly, the dad was the more reserved, but he did have 3 young daughters to defend. Once his got to see you react to his wife and daughters he was pretty cool for a dad…, who did have daughters to defend. I found out they did have an older brother who was out traveling. Probably as a direct result of a disagreement with dad, so the mom was paying it forward; but we didn’t have the name for it then.

One afternoon when we all came trooping in to their camp, I got the feeling that I wasn’t being invited to dinner. One too many mooched meal, I came back to my cold little camp. About 5 minutes later the girls came up to get me. Mom had won that round! That’s went I learned about the brother and being out and alone. I do have to mention, I did my part of the dance…, I chopped and fetch wood, fetched water, anything I could help with. In particular attention to dad in all of this dance. I had to let it known that I was make life easier for him and just not brown-noshing him. And I treated the women in his life with the respect too. Vising required a level of finesse so instead bringing a bottle of wine, I offered to do a task. Sometimes that even helping with water duties with all the daughters by themselves.

Black and White image, 1970"s view wine bottle and cork, old streetcar in back.

One afternoon the older girl seem real distracted so naturally I asked what was going on in her life. Turns out that the guy she was dating at the camp had forced himself on her that afternoon. Got her alone, had taken advantage of her culottes and had forced his way on her. I was shocked at the idea, forced! So we took a long time discussing why not tell her dad. She did not want tell as her dad might get hurt in any fight he got into with this rapist. Of course she was afraid to get pregnant, what were the possibilityBjlack and White imgae, 1970's transparent dress, dark haired model, nurse.

So the relationship grew with them, that brother relationship grew with them as a family. So when the time came for dad and his older girls to get registered for classes the girls and I made a plan. We decided that I would come down to Boston to see where they lived. So down I drove I had that V-W bus so the gas wasn’t bad, so I picked them up at a ball game their dad was coaching. His eyes really did a number on me as he said hello at the ball game. The girls had timed that really well, he was distracted by the game. By the time he had for the game to be over, he had time to figure out how to approach this fly in his ointment. Naturally the girls and I stayed up all night talking. I just had laid my head down when the dad woke me, saying that he wanted to give me coffee before I got lost. I’m not quite clear on what words were used, but I remember the point, it wouldn’t be fair to the girls my staying alone with the girls. Ever resourceful the girls had already made arrangements for me to stay with a girlfriend of theirs to get some sleep.

 

 

Canadian Sojourn Part 8

Nude female model, white shirts, old wooden fence, color image, county side.

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


I really liked the people I met at the park, the kids, the families, and the older people who came too, but in a more sedate way. It was a good mix for a lonely traveler; people accepted me with few, if any questions asked. So I settled in, made friends if only for the short term. I met the whole families though their kids, often I was invited to dinner as well. One father invited me on a hike with this family, up Cadillac Mountain.

 

It was a nice climb though it took hours to hike. Little did I know the only reason I was invited was because the dad want me there if anything when wrong with him. I only found out on the way back down the mountain. The family staid at the mountain top while dad and I made the hike back down. The hike was nice both ways, dad opened up to me while I enjoyed the weather and the views. Wildflowers I’d never seen before, plus the mountain view were breathtaking. I was good and tired from the hike so I stayed in camp while he went back in car to get them.

 

 

Black and white image, red haired female model nude with a white shirt

It was a nice climb though it took hours to hike. Little did I know the only reason I was invited was because the dad want me there if anything when wrong with him. I only found out on the way back down the mountain. The family staid at the mountain top while dad and I made the hike back down. The hike was nice both ways, dad opened up to me while I enjoyed the weather and the views. Wildflowers I’d never seen before, plus the mountain view were breathtaking. I was good and tired from the hike so I stayed in camp while he went back in car to get them.

Black and white image, red haired female model transparent dress, front of an milk barn.

That was the lovely thing about the park, there were a whole range of people to meet and of course girls. By the right of owning a V-W bus, I became the natural go to guy for ride to the beach, or the mountain streams. One day I had a bus load of kids I was ferrying to the mountain so we could swim in stream of ice fed runoff; the sun never felt so good as after. Another day I was tasked with taking some guy to buy beer for that night’s party. As the only person to have a driver license that said I was 21 they told me that the beer would be free. The only fly in the ointment was that I had to carry each case out to the trunk by the owner of the store. That night at the party I heard a noise under me. I looked down and there was a girl crawling on the ground pickup beer caps; let me guess your a Virgo I said, yes she beamed.

Black and white image, red haired female model, old milk shed, spider top, headshot.
Michael Vasquez Art ©

*I recently learned that this model took her own life, she was in her mid-thirty, when she died. When I met her I felt that she was one of those people who would become very successful in her adult life. In the short life that she had she had made her mark on the world and brought great joy to those her knew her. Ruby I truly hope you have found peace at last.

Canadian Sojourn Part 7

 

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


Now my mission to Folk Festival was over, I headed north up to the Maine woods. Had no idea what or where I was going except closer to Canada. The only thing I knew about Canada was that they had snow, Montreal had a world’s fair, and they spoke French. I was very lucky that I hit Acadia Nation Park, just outside Bar Harbor as the sun was setting. I drove around, picked my campsite, then settled in for the night. After coffee the next morning I went down to register, then I went looking for the Atlantic. I heard and smelt it before I saw it, I could hear waves crashing, wave that had come from half the world away.

 

Female model nude, by window, looking out.

The trees finally parted, huge boulders made up the shore, the waves crashing against them. I spied a young couple who’d come just to get away from their folk’s. I made for a spot some yards away, I was there for the power of the ocean. And a lesson in power was demonstrated in just a heartbeat. A wave broke, seawater made its way towards my feet, just shy it started to ebb. Then the next wave broke, again seawater raced up the boulder I was squatting on. As it reached my shoes the grip I had on the rock broke, down is started sliding. Just as I was picking up speed, I saw a hand reaching out to me, to save me. I grasped the savior’s hand, he pulled me back to dry rock where again I had somewhere for my shoes to grip.

Black & White image, female model, hands crossed over head, looking door.

The young couple became my instant friends, they took me back to meet there respective folks. It was then I learned that they came every summer, and had since the kids were small. I was to learn that most folk’s knew each other, longtime summer friends. There were people who came with relatives, a real family camp-out. I was welcomed by a number of families just by meeting their kids. One older couple I just admire their rig to be welcome. I became every mother’s son who himself was away from the family bond. I moved from group to group fluidly, though I had my space too. It was the change I needed, people to hail on my walks around camp.

Color image, female model nude, peeking out from curtain.

I also met single and groups of people who were just stopping in on their way to somewhere. Here pot was the great equalizer. I had some pot given to me as a going away present, and some hash I could not get off on no matter how much I smoked. Often people I shared the hash with beg off when I offer more. Once I met two guys who were traveling though, we shared some pot, and just as I was getting off, they thew my friend and I up against the tent and frisked us just like cops do.I was instantly scared straight as an arrow by their tactics, as they just laughed and laughed. Needless to say that was that as far as any pot sharing in the future.

Color image, nude model, red head, window in background.

But the park was very cool, and the people too. I decided that was where I wanted to be for a spell.

Canadian Sojourn: Part 6

The Mask, B & W Image, Black and White image, Mask on the trunk of a female model, nude, nudo, Mardi Gras mask.

The day started in a familiar pattern, coffee with the caretaker, then drive to the beach to meet with the hippy chick, other wise know as Marcella. Least 40 odd years later this what I remember her name as being. A short blond with a pleasant personality, we would go for long walks with breaks for cigarettes. Poking around tidal pools, just spending time together and enjoying each other’s company. Then I’d drive back to the park, fix myself something to eat, then to the festival. That night was drizzly, a guy had parked his VW bus and put up a portable TV which had the moon landing. Then the acts performed and the drive back to the park to sleep.

B & W, hand printed, my apartment,
Esperanza At the Window

This night the pattern changed though, a motorcycle group was having a party there at the next campsite. Not wanting to cause any problems, I parked and got ready for sleep. I thought I heard them discussing my van and the guy in it. After a few minutes I gathered my wits and got up to talk to them. As I approached they went on high alert, I walked up to the group with hands displayed in a peaceful gesture. I told them about the state trooper that checked on me, told the were he patrolled, suggested a part of the park that was safe to have their party, way back in the corner…, well away from me. They instantly relaxed, gave me 4 beers and thanked me, I went back to my van and had a beer. Just as I heard the first motorcycle start up, a flash of light lit my van. The trooper was there, he drove right up to them and made them leave. After a few minutes he continue with his patrol, then left. I had another beer, thank my good fortune, my silver tongue, then fell into a deep sleep.

Black Panties Michael Vasquez Photo

Next day there was not anyone I wanted to see at the festival, Marcella was, with a very interesting proposal. She wanted to see a movie, Romeo and Juliette was playing at the drive in near by. So I pick her up and to my surprise she had her little brother in tow. We got cigarettes and drinks and settle in for the show, some 2 1/2 hours long if I recollect. It was much too late for her father who had by that time locked them out, so off to my hilltop retreat overlook the ocean. We did want any red-blooded young people did in those days, after as the sun came up we took a dip in the ocean to wash off any tell tail remains.



Later that morning my caretaker came over for coffee as was his want. I let him know that I had company, as we settled infor out usual chat. Then after Marcella was awake I drove them back home and saw to breakfast for myself, then check in at home to see what was going on. I never saw Marcella again after that night. For a long time I wondered what had happen to her, but I had a plan that needed attending to. Maine was next on my agenda only because it was close to Canada. I still didn’t know where in Canada I was going to go, but I figured I would figure that out.


PhotoShop Creation from a Negative.

Canadian Sojourn Part 5

Black and White image, profile of a girl, head to knee, in shadow and light.

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


I asked the cop if there was anyplace, like a state park that I could grab some sleep. He told about a state park that wasn’t far that I could try. I found the park without too much trouble and settled in for the night. Next morning the caretaker of the park came around to tell me no sleeping was allowed. I beat him to the punch and told him my coffee was almost ready and he was welcome to a cup, but I didn’t have cream or doughnuts. He smiled and said he’d bring some the next morning, then we sat and talked about his life. He said in the summers he worked there in New Port, winter he went to live in Florida. He got around to telling me about the state trooper who made his rounds at night, he would tell him that I was alright. Then the village was calling me to go explore the sites, so off I went.

Black and White image, young woman buttocks with shadows and light.

I drove back to that park I had tried to sleep in, walked out to the point to have a look around. I found a young blonde hippy chick was there at the point. I nodded a hello and kept walking. Next I drove out to the press site for the festival and presented the letter of introduction I had from the radio station. It said that the radio station was doing a report on the festival, to give me any consideration they could. Even thought I was a member of the press in good standing back in San Antonio, I could see that this was big time, with big coverage. They turned me down flat because they didn’t have time for small town press.

I just gave up for now, when back to the beach to look and to think. Now I had the time to think, to mull my options. Did I want to push them, was I going to Canada or not. The little blonde hippy chick was no where around by then. I did have a place to stay for the week, and a state trooper to check on me.., I was safe as possible. The caretaker and I began a morning ritual, coffee and a long talk. Next morning I went back to the point, there was the girl so I said hello. We stuck up a conversation, explored the beach at low tide. Her father lived there, she was visiting for the summer. Slowly she began to tell me more about herself, how her father would lock her out of the house for coming in too late.

Black and White image, young woman's torso , neck to knees in shadow and light

I got to drop her off at home, then went down to the church were all the kids gathered. I found the billboard where all the acts for the festival were posted. Most of the kid were sleeping on the grounds, but I had a very quiet hilltop view of the ocean to wake up to. That night I attended my first night of the festival. It was a lot of fun as you can guess, with plenty of pot going around to partake. I drove back to my hilltop, music filled my dreams and any thought of my responsibility to the radio station were soon forgotten.

To this day I still have reservations about not doing what I had agreed to, I reasoned that I was not getting paid anything, the letter hadn’t worked, and I was probably not going back for a long time, if not forever. Therefor I’d put out of mind till I was trying to get to sleep. My mind was on the festival and the hippy chick, although not necessarily in that order. I was slowly deciding that I was not going back to be drafted, this was my last chance to see the states.

Canadian Sojourn Part 4

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


Latnia young womam, sitting in window, black  hair, head and shoulders, Black and White images.

I want to speak about my van in the manner of John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie”. It was a VW van that had been outfitted by the previous owner from a camper he had found. It came with a closet, pull out bed, another seat/storage area, and a water-tank/refrigerator. I had packed my foot trunk with all the things I would need for my new life. Some years before, during the Cuba Missile Crisis my father bought a camp stove, I had gotten a sleeping-bag, and a survival inflatable boat. Of course I had packed my cameras, and all my other photo gear so I was all set for my trip/new life. The van was outfitted with Wonder bread polka dots curtains.

Black and White image, young Caucasian woman, closeup of her face, sitting in a window.

My only real decisions was did I have the determination to make the move to Canada. The only thing I knew about the palace was in Montreal had a world’s fair that year. I figured that I would learn French at the very least if there is were I’d settled. Part of my cover story was I wanted to see some of my country before I was drafted into a war that I didn’t support. I had made up the cover story to cover my tracks if anyone asked about my reasons for going. I knew that if I did this there was no turning back once I cross that border, that I’d be stuck in my decision for possibly the rest of my life. At twenty-one (21) there was a lot of years left to me so I had to make an important decision.

Black and White image,full length shot of a young Caucasian woman wearing a grown.

As I prepared to leave Virginia Beach I assessed the time I had to get to my next stop. The bulk of my trip was done in the hard driving I had survived. The remaining state were compressed so that I had some time to explore site I had noticed in the area. Top of my list was a telescope array I had seen, I figured it had something to do with NASA. So down a lonely road I drove to a site that was ripe with these dishes that were point up in the air, no trespassing sign abound. I walked around the fence tried for a better view, but then it occurred to me that I was probably doing something that would bring the cops down on me. As I headed back in the direction I had come a jeep full of soldiers came driving up to give me the once over. But they didn’t stop me and soon I was back on the highway heading north.

Again this was back in 1969, the Democratic Convention riot had just happened, the city of Philadelphia was not high on my list of places to be. Neither was New York city, I was intimidated to drive there. So I figure that Trenton was okay because I knew I’d have a place to park my van at least. There were two brothers who were family friend who had a place there, they were kind enough to put me up at their motel. I stayed for about two (2) days to rest and relax, I remember getting a packet of Oreo cookies and milk. I attempted to try New York, but all I did was buy gas for my van and drove on to Rhode Island.

Black and White image, young Latina woman, sitting in window light, tight shot of face and hair.

Providence was a sleepy little seaport town then with cobbled streets and narrow roads then. I drove around to reconnoiter, drove past the church and on out of town. Found a park were I could walk around and a place to park were I wouldn’t be disturbed. Made some dinner and settled down for a good night. In the wee hours of the morning I heard tap, tap, tap on my side window, a voice call “You can’t sleep here”.

Canadian Sojourn Part 3

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


Next morning I woke to clear sky so I made a leisurely breakfast coffee. Because I was safe from the cops, I took my time getting started, had coffee and set my little home ship shape before I left the camp. I had read John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” a couple of times to make sure I had the rule of the road down pat. In my own travels I mean to follow I-10 into Jacksonville, then highway A1A north, back then in 1969 it wasn’t much a road, but it followed the ocean right up where I mean to go as my jumping off point.

B & W image, late 1960's, high school friend, abandon night club, golf course, female model, white pants suit.

So off I drove into the future, I took a left at the junction and found the blue line roads of fame. Though small towns America I drove with a vengeance, stopping only for fuel for both the van and me. By sunset I started looking for a spot where I could grab some rest for the night. Virginia Beach has some picturesque spots on the beach, so I was hoping to hear the ocean all night. But before I could settle in a cop pull in and informed me that sleeping there would get me arrested. So off I drove in search of a place for the night and fuel for the van, seeing is how I had good luck in New Orleans. Luck held and the owner said that I could park the van for the night just off his pumps.

After I wonder at my luck with gas station owners, it wasn’t until later I found out from a mother that I reminded her of her son who was off traveling. She had the idea by helping me just maybe her son would find help from good strangers as well…, pay it forward it became to be called. I would later find in National Parks all sorts of kind people willing to help me out in all my endeavors. I became the living embodiment of the lost sons everywhere, of course I did not tell a soul of my real intentions.

Black and white image, late 1960's, female model in white dress.s

Even though the real south where I expected trouble, I found kind people. That may have been because I was not staying, just passing through. The late 60’s was a horrible time in America, sort of like the time we are going through now. In Alabama I found, you guess it, a kind gas station owner who warned me off filling my water tank that the water he offered had a bad sulfur content before I filled my tank. In Georgia and again in Florida I saw my first chain gangs with only black inmates. I knew then that I didn’t want to spend time in there, luckily I was passing through and made no contact with the local police. As I was on a mission I had places to be and people to see, I could not tarry.

My next stop was in Trenton, New Jersey, with some friends of my mother who own a small motor court where I would rest for a few days.

Black and White image, late 1960's, female model, swims suit, on a log. 

Sunlight in the studio!

Jean

Red hair, sunlight, nude, nudo, michael vasquez, michaelvasquezart.com
Sunlight in the studio with Jean Dawson.

Last December Jean Dawson came by to play with the sun.  Then my image processing program decided to freeze up on me, Jean’s friend came  over to fix it.  Now I got to get back to my sojourn, but first I  have so adjustments to work out.