August 31, 2000

Bernice in the Woods (New Hamsphire)

Our drive to New Hampshire was shorter than anticipated, even with a stop for a picnic lunch, and Bernice and I arrived about an hour before we were to meet my friend who had kindly offered to guide us to the old mill site on the Canajoharie Creek where I'd photographed a week before.
4"x5" film
Not wanting to waste the time, Bernice and I drove up into the hills and parked in an out-of-the-way spot. We set off into the woods with cameras in hand until we found a space that spoke to us, at which point we unpacked and set to work. The forest, like the one in Long Island, was very different from what I was used to in Nova Scotia, and presented something of a challenge in terms of posing. Where Nova Scotian woods are often filled with granite boulders, the New Hampshire woods was uncluttered and barren; we had to substitute the roots of the trees themselves as posing spaces, working with one particular tree that had particularly pronounced roots.
4"x5" film
I often avoid the obvious poses, partially because I feel they have been done before, and also because I fear my work will become cliché. That has to be balanced, however, with what a scene calls for, and with the strongest of the forest nudes, a simple back-on pose seemed the most appropriate, with Bernice's strong shoulder and sweeping back contrasting nicely with the downward lines of the tree behind her. After making this image, however, I asked Bernice to "fall" to her right, until she came against the tree; the result is above, with a much more complex set of lines to the pose, and a wonderfully tense hand capping it all off. Time being what it was, we never really had a chance to take advantage of what this space had to offer; before we'd made a dozen negatives, we had to pack back up and head down the hill to meet Bernice, and begin the real pursuit of the day, working with the old mill's remains.

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