May 03, 1999

Victoria Part I, York Redoubt (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

4"x5" film
One of things which I find very difficult to relate though this blog is the absolute thrill of a session which totally exceeds all expectations. The first session with Aeyla, in July of 1997, and the two sessions with Erica in May of 1998 are both examples of how well a new model can inspire strong images. This day's work with Victoria became far more than I expected it to be, in so many ways.

I have worked with Victoria before (in July and August of 1998) but, in both sessions, she was working with other models, and never really had the chance to spend an extended period of time working with me on her own. Over the past year, many of the sessions I have had with models have been short, dictated by the restraints of transportation and outside commitments. While this has had a positive impact on my ability to find and reveal an image quickly, I do feel it has not been as positive in regards to developing a strong rapport with a model.
4"x5" film
For this particular session, the transportation was by bus, so it was not a restriction as such, and as Victoria had most of the day free, from eleven until four, we worked pretty steadily in a couple of locations. The first location was within a caponier (a work extending outside a wall that permits gunfire along the length of the wall) lit by small gun slits. The exposures here were 1/4 of a second with the 50 ISO colour transparency film and one second with the 400 ISO black and white negative film. Both of these photos draw upon the space's unique qualities to make the images work. The colour images uses the diffused, directional lighting to create an image very reminiscent of Rembrandt's darker paintings. The black and white image, on the other hand, yields a photo of a softly lit, richly detailed room, very different from the one hinted at in the first image.

After making a good number of images within the caponier, Victoria and I moved outside, to work on the concrete gun emplacement above. Beside the stairs down to the caponier interior were several recessed boxes set into the concrete, presumably for storing munitions and supplies. I half-jokingly asked if a body could fit into the space, and Victoria went right into it. In fifteen minutes, we made eight different poses, all working with the space in a variety of ways.
35mm transparency film
Where the light within the caponier was soft and diffused, outdoors, the full sunlight on the concrete gun-shield was almost directly above us. This gave the images very dark, empty shadows, but also provided a rich description on Victoria's body. In the image to the left, a wide angle lens produced a very elegant line along Victoria's arms, providing a very strong horizontal angle running through the lower two-thirds of the image. Wide angle lenses are a difficult tool to learn, as they so easily lend themselves to garish imagery which relies upon the lens effect for success, and not the image content.

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