For about two years, I've been trying to get to Dawson Brook, about 30 minutes from Halifax, a space which had been recommended to me by local photographer. Ever since he'd seen the space, he'd been talking to me of it, repeatedly saying how appropriate he felt it would be for my work. While I was keen to see and work with the space he was describing, I lacked the transportation to access the site, and so had to leave it be, until now. Fate shined on me this day, as a friend of mine, Brent, was available, and willing to act as chauffeur and guide. This permitted Claire and I to work with the space for the afternoon and see if the space was as good as I'd been lead to believe.
The session began on a particularly strong note; we were working at
the top end of the ravine, where the river and forest were almost at the
same level. Taking a cue from the work with Victoria a week before, I
set Claire among a spray of ferns, being attracted to the shadows they
cast on her body in the sunlight. As I was working however, the sun went
behind a cloud, and a wholly different image revealed itself; the soft
flow of the ferns framing Claire's delicately lit torso. Working
swiftly, I made the exposure - risking a second long exposure in order
to get as much of the fern spray in focus. The result is one of my most
thrilling images to date - I keep coming back to it and wondering if I
really made it. While it does hold elements of my voice, the execution
and realization lead to something that seems totally fresh and
unfamiliar to me. A real success.
The more Claire and I work
together, the better our images are becoming, strengthened by her
understanding of what I am after, and by my familiarity with what she
brings to the work. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my
extended work with Victoria is how much a model can bring to images, if
they are encouraged to experiment beyond what I can provide as
direction. Some models find it hard to work without specific
instruction, but it is often the case that even hesitant models can
become willing to take an increased role in the process once they gain
experience working with me.
The remainder of the session was as pleasurable as the first part. The ravine space turned out to be everything I'd hoped for and the distance which Claire and I covered in the five hours we worked there could easily have provided for ten times as much work. I think, in some ways, the day could be looked upon as a sketching session for later work - we moved quickly, making the images that first came to mind, and then moving on to the next space that beckoned. As I continually say throughout these pages, I hope to return and build upon the work we started on this day; the images only hint at the other possibilities that lie waiting..