January 14, 1999

Marieke's First Session (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

4"x5" film
The day after the snowstorm Nudes, I went back into the studio to work with another new model, Marieke. Like Cheryl, Marieke had never modeled nude before, but coming from a European background, she had a very different reaction to modelling for me. Where Cheryl took time to adjust to the process, Marieke pretty much jumped in with two feet, spending the last ten minutes of my set-up stretching on the backdrop (she had been mountain biking earlier in the day).
4"x5" film
I went into the studio with Marieke with all the slides from the previous day processed, and totally enamoured with the results I'd achieved. Scattered through my work are images which manipulate planes of focus, but never before had I deliberately designed an image to exploit the possibilities. Marieke's patience, combined with the results from the previous day, provoked me to experiment heavily with altered focus planes. With a view camera, unlike 35mm camera, the lens can be tilted off axis, permitting the photographer to change where the plane of focus falls. In most cases, this is used to increase depth of field, but I reversed the process, using the lens to isolate Marieke's head and hair from the remainder of her body.
4"x5" film
The image above is the best of the photos I made using selective focus. Unlike the images of Cheryl  above, this, and the others like it, is about a whole figure, but the eye is called to focus upon a single point, with the image flowing from there out. I think there is incredible potential within this technique, and in the future I intend to spend time considering not only lighting and composition, but also focus, and how the deliberate manipulation of this might strengthen a particular image.
The three sessions between January 3 and 13 are somewhat of an interwoven trilogy. Each takes the previous work and builds upon it. I still am not sure where the movement and freedom of the first session with Cheryl  falls within my work, but from that came a reflection on my more "traditional" work, and the exploration of a previously underutilized tool. Both Cheryl  and Marieke have expressed a desire to work again, so hopefully these ideas can be pushed further, and lead to even more dynamic images. 

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