June 13, 1999

Victoria at Fort McNab (McNab's Island, Nova Scotia)

4"x5" film
It always amazes me how much a space can influence different models. In 1998 I worked with Megan in Fort McNab, and just over a year later, I returned with Victoria and produced work with a similar tone and approach. I didn't intend to mirror the work with Megan, nor was it consciously in mind while I worked, but looking at the two set of images, I find it impossible to deny the influence the space had on the images.

The strongest image of the day was made in a space that I'd discovered with Megan in 1998, but was unable to work in at the time as the sun was in the wrong position. With Victoria however, the light was right, and we could make the images I'd been thinking of for a year. In the space of about 10 minutes, we exposed 10 sheets of 4"x5" film, with most of them relying simply on available light.
4"x5" film
I was concerned that the contrast from the single overhead light source would be too high, and so for the image to the left, I used the small pop-up flash in my Canon EOS Rebel 2000 to fill in the shadows by firing it manually during the one second exposure on the 4"x5" camera. This worked wonderfully, with the low-powered flash filling in the shadows, while leaving the sense of the natural light intact. The other negatives work in a different way, but I prefer the one displayed here, as it give a better sense of the space in which we worked.

The final image displayed here was produced shortly after we finished in the arched room. The sunlight was coming almost directly down, a situation I usually avoid working in. The reflections off the whitewashed steps and walls filled the shadows enough to make the image work, however. Victoria's simple pose, with the aversion of her head, makes an image which for me has a distinct Latin feel to it; something that would be better set in Mexico or Spain than in a military fort in Nova Scotia.
4"x5" film
The combination of the Nude with architecture is something that keep reappearing in my imagery. I seldom work with conventional building spaces, finding that they date images too much; there's nothing like seeing a 1960's chair in the background to fix in time the work of Richard Avedon. In the same light, setting the Nude on the worn concrete and beaten architecture of the military ruins around Halifax gives them a timelessness that is hard to replicate in other, less decrepit spaces.

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