January 13, 1999

A Winter Session (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

35mm transparency film
The second session with Cheryl took place indoors, but by natural light, as opposed to studio flash. While a winter storm turned the outside world cold and white, we worked by window light, exploring narrow depth of field and colour.
35mm transparency film
Given the outdoor conditions, I were pretty fortunate to have enough light to work with at all. In addition to making images with my tripod-bound 4x5, I had intended to work with colour slide film, using wide apertures to throw the background out of focus. As it turned out, there was no choice in how I used the slide film - there was just enough light to work with the 35mm hand-held, and nowhere near enough light to permit me to stop down for an increase in depth of field. At the time, I was worried the extremely narrow depth of field might not work, but knowing that I could always try the initial concept later, I went ahead anyway. The results of the five rolls I exposed were very pleasing with only narrow slivers of Cheryl in sharp focus. I had never tried such a narrow focus approach to the Nude before, and am surprised at the strength of the results. The power of separating the focus of the image from its surroundings is something that's always been present in photography, but I've never before explored its unique power.
4"x5" film
In contrast to the first session with Cheryl a week before, the images we made during this afternoon are far more typical of my work. Where in the first session I had responded to Cheryl 's dancing and movement to make images, on this afternoon I found myself "hunting" for photos - catching glimpses of what I wanted and working hard to frame that glance within my viewfinder. This is very similar to the way I work outdoors, and photographing in that manner felt like putting on an old glove. Where the studio session with Cheryl was unsettling and startling, the afternoon I spent working with available light was familiar and reassuring.

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