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 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.

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.

Canadian Sojourn Part ll

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

Young, dark haired, night gown, old house in the countryside, overgrown weeds.
In the college l met a young woman who wanted to work on her modeling. Slim and hard working.

A sense of elation…, freedom greeted my passage through Houston as I saw the last sign announcing at I was leaving the city. As I opened a cold brew I was already drunk on my sense of freedom. I was entering the unknown, the furthest I had ever been from home. Now without a doubt I had entered an adventure. That adventure lead me to New Orleans late at night, I pulled into a gas station. I asked the station attendant who turned out to be the owner if there was a safe place to pull into to get some sleep. He very kindly told me that I could sleep there, but to be gone by morning. July was hot and muggy, filled with mosquitoes for a sweat drenched fit-filled sleep.

Next morning I found a lovely park where it was cool from the night air. My plan was to make coffee and hit the road, but a big burly cop pulled up and told me the park was closed. My water was just starting to steam so I told him real nice if I could make my coffee first and he would be welcome to the first cup. He sort of smiled and said I’d better not be there on his next round and left. Thus started my relationship with road cops all there to enforce the local rules, I would ask politely for their help then move off. All done in a self-serving spirit of not wanting to provoke a search, or other encounters. My greatest fears of the road was cops and bigots. Here I was a Mexican driving on their turf far from home. I was also twenty one (21) with a van that had some pot and a wad of hashes I had been given as a going away present. So I was always very pleasant and easy to deal with in all my encounters.

Black and white image, young dark haired model, wearing a shirt, overgrown weeds.
She was very open to my ideas and we work hard on our collaboration.

As I was on a short time fame to get to Rode Island for the folks festival and driving through the south, I knew that I would be in for some hard days. My next stopping point was in the panhandle of Florida at a state park I saw on a sign. I pulled in from a hard rain late in the evening, there I had the luxury of a place to sleep undisturbed, and bathrooms. I remember going to the washroom in my poncho, seeing myself in the mirror. Like a young medieval monk I looked back at myself in the bathroom mirror. Dripping water I could hear the thunder and see the lighting as I washed up for the night. My first real wash in two (2) days and nights. I fell into a deep sleep with the thunder as my background.

A word on the gear I had taken from home for my journey, I had a camp stove to make my coffee and hot meals. It was a two burner with flaps to keep out any wind, it served my purpose very well on my trip and beyond. Coffee became my peace maker, I’d offer fresh hot coffee to any official trying to run me off, or to buy a little time. Even served as a measure of common humanity to make it apparent to all that I was just like them in this regard. Just leave me in peace until I make and get coffee poured.

Black and white image, silhouette of a woman, abandon house, overgrown weeds and sky.
Sadly my escape to Canada cut short our work.


Fired!

Black and White, Blond girl, an old speak-easy.
In my learning years I use the girls from my high school. Not necessarily prettiest, but the coolest.

Now I have to discuss a topic that many people find hard to comprehend, the idea of firing someone who should be in charge. I have always worked with people for as long as it pleased me. If someone disappointed me in some way, the first time I worked with them, it was the last time I worked with them. Top of my list is a guy I worked with who happened to work for the National Enquirer. I have strict rules for my working with entities. I was hired under false pretenses, he never told me who he was working with. We were already far from our home base when he told me, so I had to resort to my professionalism finish the job.

We were on a back-road when he told me to stop the car, I checked the mirror to see who was behind us before I hit the brakes. Again he yelled to stop, I put on my signal and pulled to the side of the road. Again I wasn’t fast enough for him and he yelled to stop the fucking car! Listen I told him it’s not my gear in the back of this car, I don’t give a shit if we are hit, but I figure you might. A line of three cars zoomed past us as I shifted in to reverse. Backup he growled, I want to see something. The shoot went downhill from that point on, and ended with not getting paid on time.

I mentioned it to a photographer I was working with in the context of not working with people I had problems with. He looked shocked by the idea, he said to me YOU fire people? Yeah I said I do…, I only work with people that I am compatible with. I told him that I had to fire his main competitor just that week for trying to get me to work with another assistants who I knew was racist. I had the perfect backup who I was training and worked with several times before, I knew the guy would do a fine job for him.

Black and White image, old house overgrown with vegetation, shot in the late 60's.
As a photographer I found it easy to get girls to pose for me. I learned from them how to speak to them which was the hardest part.

In my line of work I find it was to my benefit to have people who could fill in for me and I for them when the need arose. I trained many fine women and men on how to get were I was in the business. I never scrimped on the knowledge I taught them because that would work against me in the long run. I followed a few rules on the hiring of a backup, first and foremost was did the photographer work with them before. Next was how comparable was the assistant with the job to be done. And lastly but not the least of things how hard was the photographer to work with, did he have any problems I knew of that would make for a bad fit.

As I have said it was a good situation for me to run my business with the least of problems. Those who failed in some way to work in my guidelines I let go. To me life was too short to fill it with people who didn’t work with me, or tried to break the rules. Those that know me know I adhere to as few rules as possible in my life. Work was a horse of a different color indeed.

Erotic Work

Black and White image, two women, nude embracing

Erotic Work

I love doing my erotic work, I love the women who work with me, and I hold them in the highest regard. I consider them as co-creators to my images, without them my pages would be empty. As we work on a piece I give them the leeway to create, giving them instructions only when needed. My job is to run the camera, intrinsically how I want to capture the image before me. Same with my model’s, I give the free rein on their poses, only adding what I am trying to create. Symbiosis, a union of two minds each work on an idea, a feeling that in most cases can’t be explained, but only felt.

Recently I was work with two women, one I had worked with before, the other was totally new to me, my way of working. The new woman had her own views of what she wanted, and that was the other model. After a bit of a warm-up my models made love. No other words come close to describing what they did, I only told them what I want to see more of to be sure I had capture everything, they only too happily compiled.

Some would say that my shoot had been hijacked, I see it in much different way. I knew what I wanted to capture. I had to concentrate on running the camera, all those little details that make the image. For them this was the first opportunity these two women had to be alone with each other. They took advantage of that opportunity, and then some. But when my camera was finished so were they. They both had other plans for that night, bang like curtain coming down they were finished.

They stayed around to finish their wine, to dress. And then were gone like a small summer breeze on hot summer day.