July 01, 1999

Ingrid and Victoria on Canada Day (Rawdon, Nova Scotia)


It was on July 1st 1998 that I first worked with Ingrid, and over the past year, she has helped me make a very strong series of images. In contrast to last year, this Canada Day was hot and sunny, and as we had the whole day, we decided to head inland in search of spaces to work, before heading to Gold River for the afternoon light. Both Miles (who drives) and I (who passengers) agreed on Rawdon, Nova Scotia, as a good place to begin.
35mm infrared film
It was at this point that I noticed the lone dead tree on the dyke beside the river. Instantly, I wanted Ingrid to climb the tree and work within its limbs. Most of my images of the Nude in forests are composed with the figure under or beside the trees. This is mostly because the woods I work with in Nova Scotia are mainly composed of small, stubby conifers and struggling hardwoods. It is simply hard to find a big enough tree for a model to climb that isn't on a manicured lawn.
35mm infrared film
While I started working with Ingrid and then Victoria in the tree with my 4x5, I eventually shifted to using my hand-held 35mm camera with infra-red film, which permitted me to move closer. The ground below the tree was full of rolls of barbed-wire, which made it impractical to work with the 4x5 and tripod in such close proximity. In the end, the strongest images were the infra-reds. The first image, photographing directly into the sun, has a powerful motion to it, which would have been hard to replicate on the less spontaneous medium of the view camera.
4"x5" film
The final image above was a 4x5 snapshot (if there is such a thing); captured as we were walking back from the tree to where we'd left the clothes and the rest of our gear, Ingrid stopped to eat some berries. I was immediately struck with the graceful line of her arm and hip, and asked her to hold the pose. I quickly switched to my longest lens, a 12" Caltar, and made the image at f/8, almost wide open on an f/6.3 lens. The resulting image has Ingrid's body crisp and detailed, against a soft and diffused background, leading to a distinct Arcadian feel.

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