May 01, 2000

Portraits of Carol (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The evening following the session with Jennifer found me back in the studio, this time to make portraits of a close friend, Carol, who is also a photographer. Carol and I have been discussing the assorted issues surrounding my work for some time, and recently, she'd suggested modelling for portraits as a way of getting a better sense of how I work.
4"x5" film
The biggest difference between the afternoon and evening session was how much easier it was to work with studio flash at night, when the studio is absolutely dark. Whereas during the previous day's session with Jennifer I chose to abandon flash in favour of available light, in the evening, I was easily able to see exactly how the image was being lit by the strobes, and adjust the lighting accordingly.

Focusing just on portraiture (as I did with Staci two weeks before) again grew into a challenge, and the process was almost a mirror of the session with Staci. We began with conventional portraits, and got exactly what I expected, conservative, traditional images. Wanting to shake the session up, I shifted to a much less traditional mode, asking Carol to lie back on a chair, with her head arched back towards the camera. As soon as I saw the results on my camera's ground-glass, I knew this was what I wanted.
4"x5" film
The best images from the session were variations of the head-back images; one direct on, taking advantage of the narrow depth of field of the view camera to throw all but the eye-lashes out of focus, and the other playing on the flow of Carol's hair, and using an angular composition to increase the tension within the image. On the whole, I am much more pleased with the work that I had expected - portraiture normally does not inspire me, but with this work, I am very enthusiastic about the results.

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