Whose portrait?

A Whale's Lantern Diary, part 2

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Thing is, what makes a picture a portrait is that it is a portrait of somebody. But whom?

With A Whale's Lantern being a Fediverse thing, I was looking for someone who embodies the spirit of the community. Maybe a trans woman surrounded by synthesizers, plushies, old computers, and cats... but where could one find such a person?

A photograph, apparently scanned from a magazine. Wendy Carlos, a white woman aged around 50 (in 1989), smiling up at the camera from the centre of a magnificent collection of music tech. She is holding a siamese cat, and another sits on top of a studio rack.

Wendy Carlos, of course.

Wendy Carlos facts

(for people who can't be bothered to read the whole Wikipedia article)

  • Her first album, Switched-On Bach, won three Grammies in 1969.
  • She worked closely with Bob Moog, and was (if you will) instrumental in making Moog the premium synth brand it became.
  • She recorded the soundtracks to A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Tron.
  • She recorded a version of Peter and the Wolf with Weird Al Yankovic.
  • She developed a set of new tuning systems, known as α, β, and γ. They are exceptional in that they discard a perfect octave in favour of other simple fractional intervals.
  • She is an expert at photographing solar eclipses.

Continued in part 3