July 09, 2001

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

By the early afternoon, the fog had partially lifted, and, more importantly, the day had warmed enough for us to move to the coast and work with the blue-grey rocks on the opposite side of the peninsula from Rose Bay.
35mm infrared film
In contrast to the earlier session at Rose Bay, the work on this day went until the film ran out; the day stayed warm and pleasant, though the ever-present fog loomed on the horizon. The light, soft and delicate, provided beautiful description of Cassandra's form on the rocks, and in particular, the light was wonderful for the infrared work, where it gave a luminous glow to her skin, and the green-brown rockweed that abounds at the coast, giving it a fairytale-like luminescence unique to infra-read film.
8"x10" film
The most exciting image of the session, however, would be made with the 8"x10" camera. As we worked down the rock beach, I came across a sharp-sided ravine, which led down to the shore. I immediately asked Cassandra if she could lie in it, with her head and arms towards the camera, and her body flowing away from me. She tried to pose, and initially it didn't work - the way I'd envisioned it, Cassandra would have been on her back, which proved to be anatomically impossible. With some wriggling and careful adjustments, however, Cassandra managed to find a (somewhat) comfortable position, and things started to come together. Using my 159mm wide-angle lens (equal to about a 20mm on a 35mm camera) I carefully framed and focused the image, making the plane of focus follow the lines of Cassandra, as opposed to the rocks around her. The result is one of the strongest images of the project, and the first selected for Cassandra, the Nova Scotia Portfolio.
8"x10" film
This session was probably the most important of the entire project, both because of the strength of the work, and the improving confidence of Cassandra at working out poses. Since our first session, I've been encouraging her to put forward her own ideas for poses and images, to augment those I suggest, but it took several days for her to begin to do so confidently. The difference in the images was subtle, but definite, leading to our strongest session to date. Though I wouldn't see the film for another two weeks, I definitely felt a difference during this session.

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