July 07, 2000

Victoria In the Woods (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

It always fascinates me the variety of images possible with a single model. I've worked with Victoria dozens of times, and yet every time we work together, we still manage to create engaging and successful images. While each session builds on the larger body of work, I am often surprised at how much fresh imagery we manage to come up with, even after working together for so long. The question of the success of the photos doesn't rest simply with the model, the setting or me - all three combine in a creative alchemy to build on an already sizable body of work.
6x9 cm film
On this particular afternoon, I took advantage of the soft light in the forest surrounding York Redoubt to make a number of images below the tree canopy. Working on a tripod frees me from any concern about the length of exposures, and knowing Victoria as well as I did, I had no hesitation making images with second-long exposures. The long exposure times were necessitated by a combination of the lower light levels on the forest floor, and my using relatively small apertures (lens openings) to insure a sharp focus throughout the images.
4"x5" film
 For this session, I split colour and black & white between two cameras, loading the 6x9 rangefinder with Fuji Astia, a wonderful transparency (slide) film specially designed for people images. The moderate contrast and colour saturation of the colour film produced a number of wonderfully detailed images of Victoria, the best of which begins this entry - I find the huge rock outcrop somewhat reminiscent of an overgrown Stonehenge.
4"x5" film
With my 4"x5", the session ran the full range of my lenses. Within the woods, we came across a wonderfully twisted fallen tree that Victoria managed to further twist herself around. Initially I was at a loss as to how to translate the pose into a successful image, but once I put the 75mm wide angle lens on the 4"x5", and moved in closer, the composition came together with the up thrust of the branch and arm leading into the rest of the image. In a similar manner, at the end of the session, while working on rocks above the trees, I changed to my 12" long lens to make the portrait of Victoria against the sky, using the narrow depth of field and compression of space to set her body against the evening sky and distant trees, without distracting from the light across her torso. On the whole, for a short session lasting less than two hours, the results were both strong and varied. Moving swiftly from space to space, making only a few images in each setting seems to yield better results than staying in a single space until all possibilities are truly exhausted.

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