July 07, 2001

Cassandra, Nova Scotia IV (Kejimkujik , Nova Scotia)

The planned destination for this day was the Mersey River, far inland where it flowed slow and shallow. One of Cassandra's expressed interests when she'd first contacted me was water nudes, so I decided to begin the project there, but rather then working with a space I knew (like Gold River) I opted for the great unknown, and trusted to chance to provide the location. It turns out that Providence was smiling, and the space we found was perfect, with a broad, smooth flowing river between two lush and low banks.
6x9 cm film
We began working in the shallows, playing with the afternoon light on the water and the gentle ripples made by the steady flow of water. Because the river was so shallow, almost all the poses were semi-submerged, with only portions of Cassandra visible above the surface. In the past, most of my water nudes have been with swift flowing water, and have played off the white-water which resulted in interrupting this flow. With the Mersey, however, the pattern of disruption was more like wavelets then white water, with very distinct (and pleasing) results.
4"x5" film
 After about an hour of working, I'd run out of slow-speed film for my 4"x5" camera (necessary for the water-blur effect I was after), and Cassandra was getting pretty chilled, so we abandoned the river, packed up the cameras, and headed back onto the riverbank trail. Fortunately, Cassandra warmed up relatively quickly, and we did a number of land-based poses exploring the soft evening light, as we walked along the river. The best of these was the first successful portrait of the project, with Cassandra gazing directly into the lens, an indistinct freshwater marsh behind. While the main focus of Cassandra, the Nova Scotia Portfolio is the Nude in landscape, like the Victoria Portfolio before it, I planned to include one strong portrait, and being aware of this, planned to constantly return to this approach over the next twelve days.

Surprisingly, once she'd warmed up fully, and had had some food and beverage, Cassandra was willing to take a last stab at some water Nudes before we started back to Feltzen for the night. In our walk down the river, we'd come to a section with a small islet in the middle of the stream, and for the last half-hour, we worked in the stream again, this time using roll film and smaller cameras, to make the most of the final poses.
4"x5" film
Given that Cassandra had never modeled nude before, the first day of work was more then I could have hoped for; three session in as many locations, with strong colour and monochrome work was a strong start on the project I'd envisioned.

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