Women in tension

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John Gutman “Sisters”; Vivien Maier.

As I’m in Vienna today, it struck me that these were both photos that Freud could happily analyse, even if taken in 50s & 60s New York and Mexico.

The Mexican photo is especially apposite as I’ve just started Sybulle Bedford’s account of her 1950s stay in Mexico, A Visit to Don Otavio. Here she describes how she sets off:

Oh yes, Peru, decidedly Peru. I set out to tour the travel agencies with energy. They showed little, but proffered what turned out to be an extremely expensive air ticket to Lima. I could not afford it. There were no boats to Chile for the next six months. Then I spotted with the idea of Uruguay. A friend from Montevideo who loved Italy had talked and left a sense of Opera and red plush, late hours and delicious food….The friend also talked of a freighter. The freighter did not materialise…An agency, at which I had my name down, offered train reservations to Mexico City for the end of the week. We took them.

Amy in the Pyramids

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Beautiful photos from Amy Merrick’s Instagram feed, that remind me both of Mrs Smiling in Cold Comfort Farm, whom when abroad would wear lots of white dresses and all the young men in the hotels would fall in love with her, and my friend Sophia telling me that Cairo was a cheap and easy-to-reach place for a romantic weekend.

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Rice-soft air

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With hieroglyphs of bushes and trees /

they write and write, /

now pressing on their pens, now not /

Ah on wet paper /

with an invisible brush /

On the soft, rice-like air.

Olga Sedokova. Photos Prague, 2017.

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