July 06, 2001

Cassandra, Nova Scotia II (Feltzen South, Nova Scotia)

Though Cassandra was keen and enthusiastic about modeling, she'd never actually modeled nude before. With this in mind, our first session, the morning after her arrival in Nova Scotia, was indoors, to keep it as comfortable and controlled as possible. The house we were staying in had a wonderful cast-iron bathtub that caught my eye as soon as I saw it, and I knew I wanted to work with it. I'd done shower-nudes in the past, but had never worked with a bathtub; the smooth lines of the white bath drew me in and hinted at great possibilities. After a relaxed breakfast, I asked Cassandra if she'd be comfortable starting to model in the bathroom, in the tub. She said yes, and 15 minutes later, we were making images, starting with Cassandra relaxing in the tub.
35mm transparency film
In addition to having no experience with nude modeling, Cassandra was also new to the idea of the view camera, so I began the session by working with a 35mm camera, keeping things as familiar as possible, while she grew comfortable with the process as a whole. This also had the added advantage of permitting me to sketch and explore a new space, and work out what images I wanted to create with the larger 8"x10" camera. More and more, I find myself using smaller cameras to explore possibilities, and when I discover something that has the clarity I seek, I bring out the 8"x10" camera and make an exposure using that.
35mm transparency film
This session was a perfect example, as about ten minutes into it I stood at the head of the tub and framed Cassandra's torso in the curve of the end of the tub. Through the lens, it had a wonderful wholeness to the image, the subtle line of the water along her face, and immediately, I set aside the smaller camera, and brought out the 8"x10". The space was small, and in some way tested my commitment to the bulky camera, but after a rather complex dance between the tripod, camera and myself, I got it in the right position, and managed to frame up the image.

After finishing up with the bathtub, we did some portraits against the window, and then moved, to complete the sessions, into the shower-nook, around the corner. Unlike the shower at my house, which has a skylight, this shower had a long, thin window providing a wonderful light onto Cassandra's body, as it moved under the water. Where before I'd used 1600 ISO slide film for shower nudes at my house, here I was comfortably using 100 ISO film, and reaping all the benefits of smoother grain, and richer colours.
8"x10" film
All in all, the first session with Cassandra went really well; between the black and white tub nude, and a couple of the image of her in the shower, I knew I had some strong successes (though I wouldn't actually see any images for another two weeks or more). While the primary reason for the next 12 days of photography was to produce the outdoor Nudes that will make up the Cassandra Portfolio, I certainly was not going to ignore possible indoor sessions, though the images would not be incorporated in the final Portfolio.

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