October 02, 2000

Clair Models by the Ocean (Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia)

Peggy's Cove is Nova Scotia's most popular tourist site; the white lighthouse on its point is the best known lighthouse in Canada, and probably has several million photos made of it every year by visitors from around the work. Almost regardless of the season, the huge granite rocks that surround Peggy's cove are always scattered with tourists, clambering around on the rocks, or watching the waves crash upon them. Not an ideal space to have a figure session perhaps, but after our trip to the area in July of this year, both Joy and I were convinced it could be done, and that the incredible beauty of the rocks and water were more than worth the effort. I discussed the plan with Claire, and she was more than interested, agreeing with us that with people keeping a watch on the tourists, and a good sense of timing, anything was possible.
4"x5" film
As with the previous trip to Peggy's Cove, this day's work was facilitated by a visitor from Europe, Peter, who had come to explore Nova Scotia for a couple of weeks. Claire was fine with the extra person coming along, and agreed that having another person to spot for curious passers-by was a good idea.
4"x5" film
It turned out that our guess was right, and that it was reasonably easy to work on the rocks; Claire and I set the poses up with her clothed, and would then tweak them after she disrobed. I had a strange sense of déjá vu from the Alberta Project, where I frequently worked with Victoria while Annie watched for people. Once or twice there were close calls, with people coming over rocks a little too close for comfort, but on the whole, the session went off without a hitch.
6x9 cm film
The interesting thing, as always to me, was the results. The constant possibility of interruption, having three additional people at the session, and the simple fact that the air was chill, necessitating that the poses be kept short to keep the model happy and warm, all added up to distractions from the process. I managed to get some more than decent images, with a particularly good portrait, and great water-rock nude among them, but those that didn't work REALLY didn't work, which is unusual for me. Usually I'll get a good number of pleasing images from a session, with one or two that succeed wonderfully. From this day, however, with the exception of perhaps four, all the images had serious flaws, ranging from the pose, the composition, to everything combined. At a loss for other explanations, I really have to put this result down to the distractions that abounded, and to the stress of the setting. While I'd work again at Peggy's Cove without hesitation, I do think some forethought into the planning would pay off (a warmer day, earlier or later, and perhaps, starting off further down the shoreline would help).

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