July 16, 2001

Cassandra, Nova Scotia XIX (Prospect, Nova Scotia)

When planning out the Cassandra project, great thought was put into what locations to use with her, and how many of the spaces I regularly work to use, in contrast to new locales. This was in light of the fact that I knew the project would involve access to a car and a dependable model for an extended period, where normally I am never sure that I can secure both transportation and a model. While it was determined it would be important to take advantage of the car, some locations were strong enough to be used, regardless of the fact I've worked there before.
4"x5" film
Prospect was one of these locations; first worked with in 1997, and since then I've returned numerous times, continuing my exploration of one of my favourite Nova Scotian spaces. On this occasion, we headed to an area of the shore I'd previously ignored, and so while the landscape was familiar, the actual settings of the images we made were fresh to my eyes.

35mm infrared film
As I've mentioned before, the flow of work towards the end of the Cassandra Project was markedly different from that of the beginning; where initially Cassandra relied heavily on my guidance and suggestions for poses, the final sessions had a much more fluid feel to them, with Cassandra often aggressively pursuing her own ideas, often with significant success. This is not to say in any way that the first sessions were unsuccessful, just that there was a notable difference in the flow of the work as our relationship evolved.
4"x5 film
Because the day was bright and sunny, I had to constantly modify the poses to counter the dark shadows inherent to such days. Since the beginning of the Cassandra Project, I've been carrying a metre wide translucent reflector which can be used to reduce the shadows in an image. Before this year, I'd never used reflectors or diffusers in my outdoor work; after talking with some other photographers, and taking a more careful look at the work of artists who use reflectors, I decided it was a tool worth investigating. As it turns out, this day was one of only a couple where I'd used the reflector outdoors (the diffusion qualities of the reflector have proven invaluable in indoor work). Usually my outdoor work is of the entire body in the landscape, which pushes the camera further from the model then is practical for such a small reflector. Also, I seldom worry much about the contrast (local shadows) as I prefer to work in open shade, or on overcast days, where dark shadows aren't much of a problem. On this day, with the portrait I did towards the end of the session, the reflector proved invaluable, kicking more then enough light into Cassandra's face to balance against the direct light on her arm and buttocks.

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