first chance to work with Victoria in Alberta came the next morning,
when Annie dropped us off at the site of some small hoodoos, near
Cardston, in south-eastern Alberta. Before I had talked to Annie, when I
envisioned the landscape in Alberta, I thought solely of the Rocky
Mountains, and the Badlands around Drumheller. In the conversations with
Annie, however, the term hoodoo came up over and over again. "What," I
asked innocently, "are hoodoos?" In reply she e-mailed me a couple of
photographs, and my desire to travel to the west and work in Alberta
are pillars of eroded rock, typically sedimentary rock, that are
protected at the top by a more resistant boulder (more about these
amazing structures can be found here). From my first glimpse of these
intriguing formations, I knew they would work wonderfully with the Nude.
The swirling lines of the rock were very anthropomorphic, and even the
low resolution scans which Annie shared with me showed a wealth of
|35mm infrared film|
The hoodoos near Cardston are part of a
long ridge of rock that runs for miles through south-western Alberta. In
some places it crops out and is visible, while in others it is
submerged under the broad plains. The hoodoos where we spent the late
morning and early afternoon working were on a low hill, above the
highway, and directly behind a bustling farmhouse, and looked rather
small as we walked up the hill. Upon arrival, however, it quickly became
apparent how wrong our impressions were; the hoodoos were a complex
series of about five outcrops, each about 25 feet in height. The soft
sandstone was riddled with pockets, holes and ledges, which both
Victoria and I could immediately see held numerous possibilities.
we were approaching the site, both Victoria and I were worried we'd
have to limit our images to areas of the hoodoos which faced away from
the road, but having reached them, and realized the true size of the
rocks, this faded as a concern. Against the side of the rocks, it was
very unlikely a nude body would be visible, especially from a
fast-moving vehicle half a mile away.
and I worked for four hours at the hoodoos, exposing every sheet of
film I'd brought with me, and four rolls of 35mm infra-red. The morning
was hot to begin with, and the day only grew more so; we ran out of
water about half-way through the session, and ended up sharing a
rutabaga near the end, more for its moisture content than a need to eat.
When we finally were picked up by Annie, Victoria and I were both quite
hot and tired, but felt the work was strong and well worth the effort.
Our first session together in the West was a rousing success, though the
lack of water and heat of the afternoon made it hard of Victoria, who
was still adjusting to the four hour time change.