June 11, 1998

Lilly's First Outdoor Session (Long Lake, Nova Scotia)

One of the best elements of working outdoors with the Nude is the ever changing landscape in which the images can be set. Sometimes simply wandering for a while can yield incredible spaces to create images.This session builds upon Lilly's first experience modeling, in a studio session earlier in the year.

We were limited on this particular day to staying close to Halifax, as it was late in the day. We drove out along a connector highway, and then, noticing a lake through the trees, we pulled over and parked on the shoulder of the road. One of the joys of living in Halifax is that it is literally surrounded by empty countryside, providing a great variety of spaces to work in.
4"x5" film
We didn't have a lot of time to work, so we started with the obvious - a rock outcrop. The first image was stiff and unsuccessful, but while exploring the scene with my 35mm camera (loaded with slide film), I discovered the image to the right - strong raking light striking the torso and side of the model as she lay back against the rock. I made the image on both 35mm slide and 4"x5" B&W film before we moved on to work in the water.
6x12 cm film
The lake I'd seen through the trees from the highway proved to be quite clear and, given the early date, was surprisingly mild in temperature. It was too cool for full-body immersion, but the golden evening light flowing down the Lilly's back, combined with the warm tones of the sandbar, made a strong visual plane for a simple standing nude - a colour image from the start.
4"x5" film
The final image, above, shows the wonderful compression of space that you can get with a narrow depth-of-field. Normally associated with long telephoto lenses, the division of a near subject from the background via blur creates a wonderful separation in an image - in this case isolating the nude against the receding lake in the background.

June 03, 1998

Megan in Fort McNab (McNabs Island, Nova Scotia)

4"x5" film
The image above was made in the radar tower of Fort McNab. The pose was inspired by a 6x12 cm image I had made minutes before. The earlier image is successful on its own merits but showed the entire room. This 4"x5 " image concentrates on Megan alone, and the power of her shoulders and back, combined with the tension of her single leg, makes the image atypical for me. Normally a caveat of my work is that the model be in a comfortable position; experience has taught me that if the model is uncomfortable, that will show in the pose and the image usually ends up a write-off.
4"x5" film
Made with a 1 second exposure, this photo was made in an underground gun shelter, with the only light coming in from a small window to the left. I was sandwiched with the camera in the doorway, and could barely focus and compose the image on the ground-glass. Megan braved a scum covered floor and struggled with the pose to make this image. The bizarre focal plane, which runs diagonally through the image from top left to bottom right is a result of a back swing and a front tilt, which I had neglected to reset from the previous image. The softness however adds to the image in a print, with only Megan’s face, and the centre of the wall in sharp focus.
4"x5" film
One of the photographers whose work I enjoy is Sally Mann who uses her 8"x10" view camera to create powerfully eccentric images of her three children in the Blue Ridge Mountains. One of her more famous and provocative photos is of her prepubescent daughter hanging in mid-air, holding onto a meat hook. This image is a direct homage to Sally Mann, though, being made on 35mm film, it is about as technically far from her work as one can get.