In a N’awlins Mirror

Nude, New Orleans, 2003

I made my first and (so far) only trip to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the spring of 2003.  That was two years before the city got devastated by Hurricane Katrina, so I’m glad I went when I did.  I stayed at a bed & breakfast that was built in the 1800’s, located on Esplanade Avenue, about a ten minute walk from the Vieux Carre – the French Quarter.
Having never been there before, I wanted to see some of this great American city, but my primary reason for visiting was to photograph a model named Cyd.  One day, she came over to me at the b&b and I photographed her in my spacious accommodations.
This particular image is one of the more unusual ones.  Instead of photographing her straight on, I captured her reflection in the bathroom mirror.  I’ve photographed models reflected in mirrors quite a few times, but what makes this picture really unusual to me is that when I look at this photo, it looks as if it could be a painting of a nude woman that is reflected rather than an actual person.
This photo also appeared in the premiere issue of Carrie Leigh’s NUDE magazine in the fall of 2007, being the first photo presented in the eight page feature devoted to my work.  The well known fashion and glamour photographer Stan Malinowski, who was also featured in that issue, wrote to me saying that this particular photo was his favorite of mine. 
“With respect to your photos, my favorite is on your opening spread. It’s the view in the bathroom mirror,” he wrote. “The reason it is my favorite is that it’s an unexpected view…it’s a surprise as photos go. I like that!”
I watched the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” last night.  I hadn’t seen it before and I liked it.  Among the many places in the world that I have visited, India is not one of them, but I do definitely want to go.
Anyway, as the story dealt with the main character, a guy from the slums of Mumbai, knowing the answers to questions on a game show that some felt he could not possibly know, it also asked this question:  what do different people know and not know, and why?
As kids, the main character and his brother fancied themselves as Athos and Porthos, two of the Three Musketeers, which was a story they’d learned about in school.  They never learned the name of the third Musketeer, and of course, that question was asked to him on the game show. 
It reminded me of the “Honeymooners” episode when Ralph goes on “The $99,000 Answer” with his topic being music.  Norton helped Ralph prepare by playing tunes on a piano for him to guess, but always started off playing the opening of “Swanny River” – something that got Ralph annoyed.  Naturally, the first question for Ralph was “Who wrote Swanny River?” – and he didn’t know the answer.
Still, the most memorable incident regarding such things came for me on a trip to the Netherlands in 1997, I believe.  I was staying in Delft, watching Sky Channel on the TV in my hotel room.  The program on was a British show called “Mastermind,” hosted by an Icelandic fellow named Magnus Magnusson.  It was somewhat akin to the American show “Jeopardy,” but was much more involved.
As I recall, each contestant was given a subject to study, and then the contestant came back a month later to answer 20 questions.  As you’ll see, these questions were pretty involved.  On the episode that I saw, a woman had been given the subject of the city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.  I had been to Prague a few years earlier as part of a tour of central Europe, and as I like to know about the places I visit before I go, I had done some reading up on it.
Still, my knowledge of the subject was no match for the 20 questions asked.  Of those 20, I only knew the answer to one.  The contestant, on the other hand, had obviously done her homework, as she answered 19 of those 20 questions correctly.  There was no surprise in her knowing 19 answers and my knowing just one.  What did astound me, however, what that the one and only question that she got wrong…..was the one and only question that I got right! 
(I don’t remember the question, but the answer was the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square.  Perhaps the woman skipped the chapter on Prague’s tourist attractions.)

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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4 Responses to In a N’awlins Mirror

  1. As I recall, we did try to get back to Nawlins via The Beard. Maybe that trip needs to be on our back burner again?

    What a beautiful shot!

  2. Bill Ballard says:

    Very interesting image Dave. It’s nice to see the perspective of the mirror used so creatively.

  3. Dave Rudin says:

    Thanks, Bill. I’m glad you like it.

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