For some unidentified reason, I have recently been curious about the color orange, and all of its properties both metaphysically and how they relate to the other million hues on the color continuum. This may be an innate, very genuine, and subconscious effort to mark new territory.
Or, as it is the most reasonable of explanations: my color-quest results from either one of my medications or the dreams they indeed prompt. Ah, so much for mid-week rationalizing, dear Hortensia.
Dr. Sano’s autochrome itself is somber, stiff, and seemingly emotionless. The colors are drab and weary. I love it. Naturally, the tangerine shade of the tablecloth, as topped with the “flat and still” life, caught my eye, as did the setting. Perhaps, I am more peculiar in my ways than I claim, but such a table, with such items filling its top surface and set in the dusk, strikes me as inappropriate. The table looks to be near a property edge and almost in a lonely woodsy clearing by a dirt road.
Perhaps, there is a detailed narrative that I’ve missed altogether. Perhaps, the image captures an actual moment of real time, and is neither staged nor styled. Perhaps, the century old photography is simply a study of the weird minutia of a weird moment. My attention turns to Doris Day’s interpretation of “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás”, with harmonies by Peggy Lee and Julie London.
This image is chauffeuring me right to distraction’s door. Alas, I now realize the core of this particular obsession. If I squint ever so tightly and dim the desk light a bit, the woman is reminiscent of Maria Ouspenskaya, the Russian émigré whose first acting role in the US was for her 1936 Academy Award nominated performance in “Dodsworth” (a Marklewood favorite).
Ouspenkaya went on to “iconically” portray the wise and mysterious gypsy fortune teller in the “Wolfman” series, which the majority of Americans under the age of eighty have likely seen on late night television. For some reason, I always loved her, even when she played bitchy, controlling characters. My grandmother suggested that it because I could pronounce her Russian surname so easily and at such a young age.
As I look around my desk at today’s clutter and notes, I realize that further pursuit today of the color Orange is folly. I have several internet explorations queued for my attention. Yes, dear Hortensia, I made a list since I’ll likely forget them if I should take a nap. Yes, a nap.
“The way you walked was thorny, though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.” (Mme. Ouspenskaya in 1941’s “The Wolfman”)
(Image: “Lady and Fruit Dish” by Paul Sano, 1920.)