February 28, 1998

Megan Returns to the Studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The last day of February was spent printing work for my first solo show (due to open in early April, in Orono, Maine) and waiting for the night's session with Megan. Back in the studio again, it wasn't fifteen minutes before Megan commented she liked working at my house far better, that the studio didn't seem as natural.
4"x5" film
It is amazing how quickly the studio wears thin - both Megan and I agreed that the next session would be with natural light, in a "real" environment. It is hard working with nothing but a figure and light - I can do it with no problem, except for the little question "Why?". Nudes in nature speak to me as naturally as a mother tongue, but in the studio more often than not I find myself at a loss for words. There is nothing I seem to want to say.
4"x5" film
What saved the session in a strictly photographic sense were the portraits of Megan. We played more with portraiture than the nude time-wise and, even when she was nude, more of the images had her face in them than cropped out. It was a relief to me to be able to turn to portraiture when I became frustrated with the nude in the studio setting, and to know that the resulting images could be part of my work, given Megan's comfort with modelling. I think the coming summer bodes well, both for my work with the Nude, and for a body of portraiture.

February 14, 1998

Valentine's Day with Megan (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

It was in November when I first noticed that the sun had shifted sufficiently in the sky so that it shone directly into my bedroom through the blinds and onto my bed and floor. It took me three months to translate that initial wonder at the pattern cast by the binds into images - I knew I wanted to work with that pattern of light, it was a model I lacked
6x7 cm transparency film
Fortunately, as is quickly becoming the norm, Megan was available to models on this particular day, and though it was about -8° and windy outside, it quickly became more than warm with the wood stove and the sun streaming through the window. Starting out working at the window itself, I quickly found what I knew I wanted; though it has been done before, and was by no means original, I sincerely enjoyed working with the highly directional light. For the first time in eighteen months, I brought out my 8"x10" view camera and even made images with that.
35mm infrared film
After working on and around the window for an hour or so, we moved to working on the bed, which was quickly becoming bathed in light. Even with the blinds up, there was incredibly rich modelling across Megan's body, and for the next ninety minutes we worked in the slow moving patch of light, occasionally filtering the light through the blinds or lace.
4"x5" film
One of the most enjoyable elements of this session was the number of camera formats I used (four - 35mm, 120, 4"x5" and 8"x10"). Many times, I found myself seeing an image in a very specific manner - previsualizing the result as opposed to seeing the origin, so to speak. Being able to simply pick up the camera that came closest to the previsualized image was wonderfully freeing. The transparency of photography for me continues to amaze me. In 1996 when I first glimpsed this possibility it shocked me. Now it flows into being so quickly that I literally do not notice until after, when I stop to reflect on how a session went.
8"x10" film
The most dynamic element of the session was a piece of lace which Megan brought. She was interested in having some images made with its pattern falling across her body. The results were really surprising to me - the pattern spread across her skin in a fluid, graceful flow, becoming progressively diffused.

February 01, 1998

Megan in the Shower (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

35mm transparency
After finishing with the candle-light session, Megan asked if there was anything else I'd be interested in doing. I'd never worked with a model in a shower before, so I asked if she'd be interested in experimenting with that - and fifteen minutes later, we were back to making images - this time, in a small bathroom.
35mm film
The shower was an interesting setting to work in after making the images by candle-light - both environments have a strong emotional connection to intimacy (though with a shower, there was also an overlay of privacy, and to be candid, at first I felt quite voyeuristic). Megan was really positive to the experiment, and when I realized I had to leave the bathroom door open (to keep the humidity down, so my camera lens didn't fog up), she laughed the sudden influx of cold air off, stating that it was more important that the photographs worked than that she was comfortable.
35mm film
In the end, the shower session only lasted minutes; I worked through three rolls of film (108 exposures), and was left with some really encouraging results. I particularly like the look of water on skin, and certainly will continue to work with shower Nudes in the future, should the opportunity present itself!

Megan by Candlelight (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

35mm film
This was another session with Megan, in a less traditional setting - a candle-lit room. I had done candle nudes in the past, but I felt new work was in order, and as I had Megan as a model, all we had to do was get down to business and make the images.
35mm film
The one thing about candle-lit images is that the exposures are long - even with Kodak T-max 3200 rated at EI 1600, my exposures were in the realm of 1 second at f/8. With the 120 negatives I made, I used Ilford HP5+ rated at 800, and the exposures were up to about 8 seconds at f/16 after factoring reciprocity failure. One advantage of the roll film over the higher speed 35mm film was that it was being shot on a view camera, and I could take advantage of camera movements to combat the shallow depth of field I had to put up with to get reasonable exposures.
4"x5" film
The most successful candle nude, on the left, was made towards the end of the session - the radiant light from the candle and the subtle fall off over the curve of her hip and back translated exactly from what I saw onto film, make the candle session a wonderful success.