July 19, 1998

A Morning Session with Lilly (Rainbow Haven Beach, Nova Scotia)

The biggest lesson I am learning from my sessions with Lilly is that working in short, intense sessions can be as successful as spending full days making images. Typical figure sessions can run as long as six hours, but due to Lilly's busy schedule, we seldom have more than two hours at a time but the work that comes out of these sessions is strong nonetheless. On this particular Sunday, the only time Lilly had was until 11 in the morning
35mm infrared film
Working early in the morning was a new experience for me; the raking light provided wonderful mottling of Lilly's body, but the high contrast of the lighting made some of the exposures a little tricky.
4"x5" film
The strongest image of the morning (above) would have been far less successful if it was made in afternoon light. The low sun glistening on the water, combined with a 1 second shutter speed (achieved by stacking a 2x neutral density filter with a yellow-green filter), gives the surroundings a subtle, ethereal quality, while the light flowing over Lilly's body is so sculptural, the image seems almost carved in stone.
4"x5" film
The rest of the morning's work went well, producing close to two dozen 4"x5" negatives in a wide variety of settings, as well as two rolls of 35mm images, but they all fade in comparison to the first image. I suppose it only human to single out a favourite, but then again, I tend to think the "best" image overshadows the other successful ones. When I showed Lilly the work, the only image she asked for as a print was the middle of these three, reaffirming my enthusiasm.

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