Saturday, March 5, 2011


During their internment in a forced labour camp in Nazi Germany, one of Ivaan's family's deepest secrets was the fact that Dad owned a camera.  It was not only a prized possession but it was also the source of great fear.  If its existence came to light, there could be repercussions.  But for that camera, however, there would have been no early photographs of Ivaan and his sister Nadia.
Ivaan and Nadia, 1945
The first photo of Ivaan and Nadia was taken a few months after the liberation. He had fattened up considerably, and his head had been shaven for a couple of reasons:  head lice and tradition.  It was believed that shaving a baby boy's head would ensure he would have a good head of hair as an adult. Notice his eyes? Anyone who knows Ivaan well will recognize him by his eyes. I used to describe them as two currants in a loaf of bread.

Ivaan, circa 1959

Ivaan's interest in photography stemmed from the time he started high school at Harbord Collegiate.  He must have been about 15 when this photo was taken.  I don't know who took it.  Perhaps he took it himself or maybe it was taken by another member of the Camera Club at Harbord.  It's an excellent photo, though, and he treasured it.

Ivaan, by Helen, circa 1961

I think this photo was taken by Helen Poliwka, who was Ivaan's first serious girlfriend.  Ivaan and Helen were the cutest couple imaginable  - both with movie star good looks and personalities to match.  Helen remained a lifelong friend and Ivaan always treasured her as one of the favourite people in his life.

Ivaan, Helen and friends, circa 1962

I don't know whether it was for a school play or a dance or some other reason, but Ivaan and his friends dressed as beatniks for this photograph.  That's Ivaan in white, in the middle of the photo, and his girlfriend Helen is directly to the right of him in the photo.

Ivaan with some cheerleaders, circa 1962
I think the glasses were just for effect.  Ivaan didn't actually need glasses, yet he wears this pair in several photographs, so I can only speculate it was to give him that certain "je ne sais quoi". 

Ivaan as "Jesus", circa 1973
Ivaan took this photo of himself in about 1973.  There are a million photos of Ivaan but this is the one most of his female fans swoon over.  I think he took it just before he cut his hair and shaved his moustache.  I only have one copy, and I can't find the negative, so I really prize it.

Ivaan christening his goddaughter Mariana in 2001

Mariana looks far less worried than she ought to be in this photo:  Ivaan had just suffered his first stroke a few months previously, and  his right arm was still  quite paralyzed.  He was terrified he was going to drop her, so this photo was taken in a hurry. For the remainder of the christening ceremony, Mariana was held by her godmother Anna (also a goddaughter of Ivaan's).

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