Poland Naturist – Photography & A Cafe Named After Anatomy
There’s a shutter speed option on many modern cameras that lets a photographer keep the shutter open as long as he wants. Its called the bulb setting. In the old days an air bulb was used to pneumatically release the shutter. Nowadays you just have to press a button. The name stuck.
After the concert on Saturday Gosia asked me to take pictures of her and a group of young men as they stood in the pitch dark in what I was told was a garbage dump. I was asked to make sure you could tell it was a garbage dump. I am not prone to questioning a woman’s motives but I admit the request left me baffled. I dutifully set my camera to the bulb setting and warned everybody not to move. They didn’t listen.
The problem with dim light is that you have to keep the shutter open for longer to allow enough light to enter the camera. If the subject moves at all, or if the camera moves, due to, let’s say, shaky hands, the image comes out blurred.
That night Darek drove me back to Sauna Cezar. Gosia and Babuka were in the back seat. It was near midnight and we were on our way to pick up Gosia’s eldest daughter. She had been attending her own party that night and needed a ride home. Combing through a dark neighborhood we finally found her at the gate of a house. She was kissing a boy. Gosia mentioned young love and its neediness. There was a sardonic tone to her voice. Earlier she had pointed out the strangeness of a mother going to pick up her daughter from a party in the middle of the night. She seemed distant.
Babuka started talking about the Vagina Café. She told the story of how she hadn’t been sure if she had heard the name right the first time it had been mentioned. When she realized it was exactly what she thought it was her first thought was that Gosia had to be incredibly “cool.” She started asking questions. Why was the café called Vagina? What was its purpose? Gosia struggled to explain herself in painfully broken English. From what I could gather it sounded like she wanted to create a place for women to be able to talk freely about their womanhood.
It took a while for Gosia’s message to get across. A lot of people assumed the bar was for gays and lesbians – including gays and lesbians. Gosia told the story of how one female client had come for more than the coffee. When the mistake became obvious the woman decided to stay away out of embarrassment. After a while she came back and admitted the truth. She had made a bad assumption. It seems that in Poland, like many parts of the western word, referencing sexual anatomy in an edgy way is perceived as being mainly the purview of perverts and liberals, dirty homosexuals being the most obvious kind.
Darek drove fast. I started taking pictures through the windshield. With the bulb setting the lights of the street blended into brilliant lines of tangled color. I showed the exposures to the ladies in the back seat. Gosia took an interest – just like she had in the morning. I thought of the pictures I had taken of her swimming and showering. She had stumbled upon a vain attempt of mine to take a good photo in the dim light by the sauna.. I had asked her if she would be willing to be photographed. She quickly adopted a comely pose. To no avail. Everything came out blurry.
I blame the shaky hands.