August 18, 1999

Megan Returns...to the Studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Many people have commented that I have a knack for working with models who move away.  When I'm lucky, they return like Megan did this summer. Though we'd produced some stellar work in 1998, I hadn't worked with her since June of that year because she left Halifax for the bigger lights of Toronto. I was overjoyed to find she was in town for a wedding and wanted to make some more images.
6x6cm negative
As it turned out, we had to work in the studio, not either of our first choice of venue.  After spending the afternoon frantically generating ideas, I decided to return to something I had begun exploring in 1994. At that time I had free and liberal access to the studio at the art college I was attending but was becoming increasingly frustrated with the stale nature of studio nudes. In response to this, I began experimenting with cloth and the body with mixed results
6x6cm negative
The return to that concept was a frustrating one. Megan, being an indulgent model, was willing to work with wet cheesecloth, but we quickly learned it dried too fast, quickly changing from a wonderful form-following texture to limp cloth on a body. Having to re-wet the cloth, and keep it warm enough to ensure Megan's comfort took more effort than making the photos themselves and the results were weren't good enough to justify the effort.
6x6cm negative
The first and most frustrating problem was that the cheesecloth didn't have the look I was after. I will have to experiment to find which cloth looks right. The second problem was equipment related. While it was a good decision to work with a medium format camera (as opposed to a view camera which would have made the session go even slower), the lack of a telephoto lens on the Bronica 6x6 proved a real hindrance to imaging. The normal lens with a close-up filter focused close enough but didn't provide the tight angle of view I was aiming for and caused some severe distortion of Megan's body. If I decide to pursue the cloth/nude idea, it will definitely be with a telephoto lens, and a different  type of cloth.

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