September 18, 2000

A Studio Session with L_ (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

When I went into the studio with L_, I was well aware that, while she was comfortable with modeling nude, she preferred to remain anonymous, having reservations about her face appearing on-line. That said, the first part of the session produced a series of strong nude portraits; L_ has a wonderful presence before the camera and translates well onto film. The image to the right is from this part of the session, made with her restrictions in mind. The luminous skin tones, coming from the image being made on infrared film, and the wild burst of hair at the top of the image are what make it sing in my eyes.
35mm infrared film
It's almost a year since I made my first mirror image, and the possibilities it offers up are still not exhausted. L_'s response to the mirror was similar to the others I've brought to it; she enjoyed the challenge of working on it, and, while there was some frustration because she couldn't really anticipate what I was imaging, the session went well.
35mm infrared film
In some ways, for me, the mirror images are the most functional of all the work I do in the studio. Usually I find the studio a sterile, lifeless space to work in. While a particularly stunning model, the opportunity to work with a couple or an especially energetic session can yield good results in spite of this, even the best studio image pales for me, in comparison to a similar photo made out in a "real" environment.

What the mirror does, however, is inject much of what I thrive off into outdoor photography. The lighting is unpredictable, given that it is seen from both sides simultaneously, and a subtle change in the pose can have a remarkable influence on how the image looks in the mirror itself.
4"x5" film
I left the session after the session with L_ with my head spinning. Much like after the first mirror session, or the one in June with Zoë, the images of L_ on the mirror were swimming through my mind, and I could not wait to get into the darkroom and see the results. The results were, if anything, better than I expected, with several images totally unlike anything I'd previously created using the mirror. For a first session with a new model, it was really good, and, I hope, the beginning of a larger body of work. As a student, L_ doesn't have much time to model over the fall and winter, but come next spring, I hope to be able to work with her outdoors, and see what she can do with that as a space.

The final image in this diary section was from this session but was not added to the entry until fall of 2000 when L_ changed her mind about the face release, so the full work from the session can now be included in the diary entry.

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