A Little Bit Spanish

Maggie met Veronica in an ad agency – Ansell and Associates and instantly wanted to photograph her…’She was an Australian with Chinese blood, so she looked ‘a little bit Spanish…’

Veronica Gilmer went on to become a favourite subject, a kind of apprentice and a dear friend.  She was also to introduce Maggie (then known as Maggie Besson Fraser) to the Spanish scene in Melbourne, which became her spiritual home.  With all the vibrancy and diversity she missed from her Chicago home, ‘placid’ Melbourne was becoming a little more interesting.

It was through Veronica, that Maggie met Jose Diaz – an escapee from the Spanish Foreign Legion. He got off the boat from Africa and was never seen again, much to his family’s dismay.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve…but for the two Spanish, there is little joy in the season.  The season is summer; sharks and beaches are active, crowds perspire in hordes and the city is aglow with the last minute agitated masses hoping they will receive a better fate than what they are getting…’ Excerpt of letter by Diaz written to her brother Tom, 1960s.


By the mid 1970s Maggie had taken Jose’s name – she didn’t want to get married again, but she did like the name.  Together they had a son, Estevan Dario Diaz.

Portrait of Veronica above and this one of Jose and Stevan, ‘Happy’ feature in  One-way Ticket at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale.

Only ONE WEEK TO GO to see this extraordinary international festival of photography.

 Once again, we extend our gratitude to Jeff Moorfoot, Director and all the incredible volunteers who make the BIFB  a truly world class event.

If you missed the fabulous story ‘Golden Years’ on Art Nation, here is the link:

http://www.abc.net.au/arts/video/tv_program/ARTNATION.htm#videoTop

Klaus Toft, Mark Farnell and James Fisher by Diaz

If you’re happy with it share with everyone. We don’t want this wonderful program to be axed!

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