September 02, 1997

A Woodland Session (Orono, Maine)


My first session with a model in Maine began mid-afternoon; Ellen had suggested a location in a nearby forest, so we walked into the woods for a few minutes to a clearing where we began to work. The forest was subtly different from those I am used to in Nova Scotia - it was more open, with older trees and more lush undergrowth
4"x5" film
Many of the tree nudes I made this year originate in my discussions with Joy and in the imagery in her poetry. Where the rock and water nudes for me exist as visual images alone, I cannot escape the reality that when I created the tree nudes this year, I was consciously thinking of dryads, nymphs and tree spirits. I don't think that this alters the meaning of the work, but I am aware it changes how I view the images. I am not sure how this will play out in the final presentation of the work, but knowing the images are born from more than a desire for visual expression will change how they are finished.
6x12 cm film
The colour nude came out of a pose Ellen asked for - she wanted an image with her on the stream. There was no water moving through it, but the dark trail the wet rocks cut through the green forest floor was a perfect tableau for a nude. The first image, curled up, was good, but then I asked her to lean back over the rock she was sitting on. That image has such a strong angular direction to it that I truly think it would have succeeded even in black and white, but the contrast between the model's pale skin and the lush undergrowth simply rocks, to quote Ellen.
6x12 cm film
The lure of water mixed with the Nude is so strong to me now, I am appalled that it took me six years to discover the combination. Where Ellen and I had been floundering in the woods, searching for images, at the river they presented themselves to me faster than I could respond. Because of the fading light, the session was short, but the work was strong. The low light, combined with the bright evening sky gave wonderful reflections in the calm water where we were working.

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