April 18, 1999

Under the Bridge (Ingramport, Nova Scotia)

4"x5" film
This was my second time working at this site, but it was the first time I'd had the luxury of using different lenses (the previous session in August of 1998 was just after losing my Wista 4"x5" camera to a river). Where before I'd made some good images of Ingrid, I was very excited about the chance to return with the 4"x5", and really create the images I knew were there.

Working in such a regimented space was wonderful. The division of space by the girders, and the repeating forms of the bridge's structure presented wonderful opportunities to play with symmetry, without having to rely upon Ingrid's pose to generate it. The first series of images I made worked off last year's work, with the framing corrected to what I'd wanted but been unable to achieve with the 8"x10" camera. The first image here represents the best of the negatives, with a pose which both plays off of, and works against, the ridged form of the bridge behind Ingrid.
4"x5" film
The best image of the session, above, was made taking advantage of the spatial distortions possible with my 75mm wide angle lens. With Ingrid in place on the crossbeams, I set the tripod under her, positioning the camera so the beams and bridge were positioned perfectly. Using a lens tilt permitted me to keep all of Ingrid's figure in sharp focus, while at the same time, threw the far end of the bridge slightly out of focus. In the print, this softness adds to the surreal image.

In some ways, I was a little hesitant to work with a male model on the bridge - it threatens to fall into the beefcake mode of imaging, concentrating on muscle and masculinity as opposed to line and form. Miles worked hard though, and the results more than pleased me.
4"x5" film
Overall, the couple of hours we spent at the bridge was a great success. I feel very satisfied with the work, and to be honest, am not sure how much more could be done with the space. There is great potential for work with multiple models, but with the limitations on tripod positions, the view-points are somewhat limited. Over the coming summer, I think I'll try to locate other abandoned rail bridges, and see what happens with a similar, yet different space.

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