July 11, 1998

Ingrid and Victoria in the Studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The real reason for my borrowing the Pentax 67 was to use it for an evening studio session with Ingrid and a friend of hers, Victoria. Just like my first session with Ingrid, I didn't have the chance to meet Victoria before the session, so I was working with my fingers crossed. I had a number of out-of-date rolls of Konica 750 120 infra-red film which I wanted to use up, and I felt it would make more sense to use it on a 6x6 or 6x7 camera, as opposed to my 6x12 roll back. As it turns out, using the out-dated film was the best decision of the day.
6x7 cm film
The session was unique for more reasons than the film; Ingrid and Victoria, the models, were the first pair of models I've worked with in an intimate context who were friends, as opposed to a "couple". Before we started working, we spent some time talking about what I was looking for, and on the whole, I felt the session was really successful. I was hyper aware of crossing the line between sensuality and sexuality. As it turns out, the most intimate image of the evening was the last pose (to the upper right) which I'd left up to the models to find. Far more intense a pose than I would have suggested, the image has exactly the elements I was after: tenderness. trust, and an all-enveloping warmth.
6x7 cm film
Above I say that using the stale Konica 750 IR film was the best decision of the day, while that is certainly true, I wouldn't have said so the night I processed the film. When I pulled the negs out of the developing canisters, my heart fell - almost all the rolls were fogged! The negs looked horrid, and though I could see the ghosts of some of the images, I truly believed the images were a write-off. Prudence, thankfully, reared its head though, and I saved the negs, hanging them to dry so I could see if anything could be salvaged from them. The next day when I contact printed the "ruined" negatives, I was amazed to see the film had reversed in the shadows, yielding images naturally solarized because of the high base fog. More than 3/4 of the negatives printed wonderfully as straight prints, with the remaining images printing nicely after some creative intervention on my part.
6x7 cm infrared film
Thus, a disaster turned into a blessing. The fogged IR negs have yielded some of the most intriguing images I have ever produced - and since this effect will almost certainly be unrepeatable, they are all the more precious. The 4"x5" images I produced of Ingrid and Victoria are strong and will find their way into other parts of my oeuvre, but they pale when set next to the rich freshness of the infra-red images.

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