February 21, 1999

Marieke in Available Light (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

35mm transparency film
My first session using available light with Marieke was very much in the same vein as the earlier work with Cheryl . Using colour slide film, I worked hand-held, using very wide apertures to minimize the depth of field, and tight compositions, playing with the image frame and background. While a 35mm camera lacks the lens movements which I have been using in the studio focus-effect images, the softness which comes from using a 35mm telephoto lens at large aperture settings generates a very similar visual effect. I'd love to try to make some colour 4x5 images using the same technique as I have in black and white, but as that is terribly expensive, I will have to stick to 35mm colour for now.
35mm transparency film
The white backdrop, draped over the window, was crucial to the making of these images, providing a wonderful counterpoint to the subtle colourations of Marieke's body. The high speed slide film further accentuated this through its pronounced grain and low contrast. When making the images, I ignored the background when metering, instead placing the meter against Marieke, and pointed the incident dome towards the camera. This provided a perfect exposure for the body, and permitted the sheet to appear white and luminous.

In the past, I preferred to set the body against black, removing all context from the space in which the images were made. With these, there is the same undefined location, but a lightness and freshness which was never present in the earlier studio work with the black background.
35mm transparency film

A friend, when he saw these images and earlier prints of the work with Cheryl, commented that my work was becoming more erotic. My initial reaction was to deny this, but after a bit of reflection, I am inclined to agree with him somewhat. The colour images I have done with available light this year have an intimacy which is new to my work, but whether this flows from these images is a result of them being in colour, or because of their softness, I am still considering.

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