January 25, 1999

Cheryl in the Studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

4"x5" film
Often when I work with models, I cannot afford to make the assumption that they will work with me Omore than once. This colours the way I work, and often prevents me from having the leisure to experiment. Cheryl  has been very generous in her support of my work, however, and has offered to model on a regular basis over the winter (and hopefully beyond), which allows me the freedom to experiment and push the work forward.

The images utilizing focus shifts, which I made earlier in January have continued to drive me, and during this session with Cheryl, almost everything we did revolved around distorting focus and playing with the depth of field.
4"x5" film
Because a view camera's lens and film are independent of one another, it is possible to tilt or swing either one to distort the plane of focus. Usually this is done to increase depth of field, thereby compensating somewhat for the longer lenses used with view cameras (almost all my studio images using the 4"x5" view camera are made with a 210mm lens). With the focus shift images, however, I take the photographs in the other direction, forcing portions of the image out of focus and keeping the plain of focus as narrow as possible.
4"x5" film
On the whole, I am far more satisfied with these images than with most previous studio images I have made. I realize that the focus shift aspect to the images may wear thin after a time but, for now, I plan to pursue this approach until I really feel I have used it to its full potential. The only frustration I am having at the moment is that I suspect some of this work would really sing in colour, and focus shifts of this kind are not available on 35mm cameras. I may have to try some experiments using the 120 roll back, though these focus shift investigations could become a bit expensive, given the unavoidable failures inherent to my learning curve with colour.

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