July 12, 2001

Cassandra, Nova Scotia XV (Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia)

Of all the spaces I've worked with to date (going back to 1990), this was by far the most difficult to reach. Saying that it was a 45 minute walk into the lake makes it sound reasonable, but as the path was along a winding path though Nova Scotia woods and brush, and I'd opted to take both the 8"x10" and the 12x20 cameras (and both tripods) it was pretty close to sheer hell. Even with Brent, our host and guide for the day, carrying the wooden tripod and the 12x20 film holders, I was carrying close to 90 pounds of equipment, so upon our arrival at the lake, our first course of action was a desperately needed lunch and rest!
6x9 cm film
After a shoreline picnic, we began working in the lake, first with Cassandra posing on a small rock about ten metres from the shore. I began with a 12x20 image, and then moved in with the smaller, hand-held cameras to explore other possibilities. In the end, it was the small format images which best exploited the potentialities. When the sun broke through the fog and clouds, it began to provide wonderful shimmering highlights around Cassandra's reflection.
35mm infrared film
The rest of the session alternated between the four camera formats. The hand-held cameras were usually used to sketch out idea, and if the strength of the resulting poses and compositions called for them, the larger cameras would be brought into play. Most of the images I did with the 8"x10" were portraits, taking advantage of the long open vistas across the lake as a seamless, indistinct background.
8"x10" film
The pleasure of working in such an isolated location was indescribable; in more accessible spaces, a measurable amount of energy is put into keeping an eye out for the chance passer-by, but in an out-of-the-way space such as this, the entire session is made without this consideration. The influence this has on the session is subtle, but evident; where on other sessions between camera positions, Cassandra would don her sweater, or huddle in the shade, at Second Lake, when she wasn't modeling, she was avoiding frogs, or casually lying on rocks for warmth.

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