September 11, 2000

Working with Claire in the Studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Because I began working with Claire during the summer, all our sessions to date have been outdoors - taking advantage of the weather and warmth. On this day, however, as good as it was, we didn't have any transportation so we opted to do studio work and see what came of working in that space.
35mm infrared film
I started the session by having Claire work on the mirror. I'm having an exhibition of this work on January 6-24, 2001 at ViewPoint Gallery. The planning is already well underway, I still wanted to add to the pool of work from which I could draw images for the show. The first lesson I learned was that it is one thing to work in this particular studio at night, and another to work in it by day. Though the studio area proper is light-proofed, enough light was coming through the windows in the other end of the room to make it a little difficult to gauge the actual lighting. For more traditional images, this would have been less of an issue; for the mirror work, the lighting is such a large part of what makes the images work that I found it a serious frustration.
4"x5" film
We struggled through, however, and managed to make a number of images, my favourite of which is displayed to the right. I think what has drawn me to the mirror work is how malleable it makes the figure - in this image the arm and reflected arm merge and intermingle with the chin, until it all kind of blurs together into something far more complex than its parts.
4"x5" film
After we finished up with the mirror, rather than fight with the available light interfering with the studio flash work, I got rid of the flash all together, and reverted to the available light coming through the studio windows. Natural light is far more to my liking, and much easier to work with because what I was seeing, I was getting. The images at the close of the session were very successful, mostly focusing on nude portraiture, but also involving some details of skin on skin, with the wonderfully soft light of the window. With the number of days available for outdoor work waning, it was good to see how Claire reacted to the studio as a space to create in; the session holds out promise for the winter months.

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