July 11, 2000

A Pair of Models at the Coast (East Pennant, Nova Scotia)

I'd worked with Staci earlier this year, making a number of successful portraits of her in the studio in April, but this was the first time I'd worked with her for a figure session. The session was actually a joint session, with Staci and her friend Lacy both modeling for me (Staci was along as moral support for Lacy who had seen my work a week before, said she would like to model, but was a little nervous - so Staci came to the rescue). The day we had available to work on was sunny and hot, so we headed to the coast, and worked on the granite shoreline between the broad Atlantic and the tree line.
4"x5" film
Working with two models outdoors can be a difficult proposition, and is made even more challenging when the models are not together in a relationship. This said, in the past, I have managed to produce a number of good outdoor images with two models, so I had some previous experience to build upon. With Staci and Lacy, the dynamic was particularly interesting, as both were interested in modeling by themselves, but had said they were fine with being together in the same image. As both had never worked nude with me before, I let them chose who'd model first - they opted to pose together, and the first image, to the top right, is the result.
35mm infrared film
The rest of the session alternated between one model or the other working on their own, and when the composition called for it, the second model being added to the image. Often someone would see a space, and point out what they envisioned with it - we'd frame up the image, insert the model, refine the pose, and make the exposure. Once the initial image was made, I'd sometimes introduce a different pose, or even ask the other model into the image, building a totally different composition. The freedom to work with two models, when the image called for it, was really enjoyable - both models had similar body shapes, so the solo images were almost interchangeable, but the complexity and interplay that arose when the two models were in the same frame was really engaging.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the day was how the dynamic of working with the two models affected my work process. Where usually I concentrate on working with my view camera, and use the two smaller cameras to create variations, on this day most of my work was done on the 6x9 and 35mm cameras, with only a dozen or so 4"x5"'s being made over the five hours we worked. One of the reasons for this decision was that many of the images relied upon the flow of the sea for their success, and it made more sense to make multiple possibilities on roll film than the more expensive 4"x5" film.
4"x5" film
The day was a wonderful experience - the warm sunlight and cool breeze off the ocean making it perfect for working with the Nude, and both models grew comfortable with the process quickly and easily. The results reflected the day, with some very successful photos, both of the individual women, and of them together.

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