August 31, 2000

Bernice Indoors (Boston, Massachusetts)

My second day of work with Bernice began at five in the morning, which marked the beginning of the commute into Boston proper, though I didn't actually meet up with her until ten o'clock.
4"x5" film
After a second light breakfast, and some chatting about the previous day's work, we got things underway. I had hoped to do some indoor work with Bernice, and one look at her apartment told me where we'd work - a comfortable white couch in her living room was perfect.

Lit by a large set of windows, the light on the couch was soft and wonderfully descriptive, giving some beautiful highlights, and nice, flowing shadows. The posing consisted of asking Bernice to "get comfortable" and then exploring the possibilities. One of the strengths of the couch in her living room was it was perfect for lounging about, with large pillows at both ends. Too often in the studio I ask models to get comfortable on hard floors with only a pillow or two - it was nice to ask for something that for once was a reasonable expectation.
4"x5" film
The soft light, combined with Bernice's comfort with modeling, lead to a very strong sequence of images. We worked fairly quickly, moving between poses and perspectives fluidly. I focused on the complementary relationship between the lines and shadows on the couch and those of Bernice's body. I also worked more than usual with limited depth of field. I've been using this technique in the studio recently, but applying it with natural light was unusual for me. The results were very pleasing, with the sharply focused portions pulling the eye to one portion, and the elegantly out-of-focus areas seducing it elsewhere. The combination of the two makes for a very complex visual plane.
4"x5" film
The couch session was a good start to the day. Its pace was totally natural, with Bernice changing poses when she became stiff, and I asking for something different when I'd run out of possibilities. The light, combined with the setting and model, all added up to a perfect combination. The work only came to a close when Bernice and I agreed we'd exhausted the possibilities of the space. We were both eager to get on the road to the spaces we'd planned to work with later in the day, so after a good hour of working with the possibilities on the couch, we packed up the cameras and headed off to New Hampshire.

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