April 11, 1998

A couple Indoors (Orono, Maine)

Laurel had facilitated almost half the images on this trip to Maine by letting me work within her house, but it wasn't until the morning of my last full day in Maine that she could model with her partner, Neil. Like the previous days session with Lisa, the morning was full of sunlight, flowing across the couple and alternately frustrating and thrilling me - for one image the sun would be perfect, for the next, problematic. Working with two people made the process even more challenging.
6x12 cm film
As I work with more couples, I'm learning that there is no predictable dynamic - each couple reacts to modelling together totally differently. For Laurel and Neil, the session provided a break in a hectic schedule, and gave them time to simply be together with nothing else distracting them (all be it in a room with other people, and the constant click of shutters and shifting of tripods). Both mentioned afterwards that is was nice having the time to simply be together.
6x12 cm film
The comfort and openness of Laurel and Neil with the session shows in the work - out of the session came some really strong images - and the breaking of another personal barrier. A week before, I'd talked on a panel discussing aspects of working with the female nude in art, and had presented a short slide presentation of my work, which included several of my images of couples. In the process of elaborating on that aspect of my work, I delineated the line I felt I walked upon, using the example that while I might photograph a nude couple holding each other or cuddling, I didn't think it would work to take an image of, say a kiss, while the models were nude.
4"x5" film
Laurel and Neil blew that idea out of the water. Over the course of the 90 minutes we worked together, fully a quarter of the images made were of kisses...each touching on the tenderness and intimacy between them, and drawing upon exactly what I hope to convey in the work - the power of two. I chuckled as I made the work, recalling the very words I'd spoken a week before. The moment called for the images to be made, and in spite of my prior conviction that they would cross a line I am dreadfully aware of, I made them. On one level, this reinforces my conviction that the spontaneity of last summer's work is continuing, and on another, it forces me to re-evaluate the invisible line I had drawn with my work, question what I am loathe to stray into, and why...

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