August 03, 2001

Bili & Joe Pose in the Morning (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The last session of Bili and Joe's visit was an early morning one; as I had to work at 10 am the session had to be over by 8:30. We met shortly after sunrise, and arrived at the York Shore Battery when the sun was only a hand's breadth above the horizon. Fortunately, the morning was a hazy one, diffusing the direct sun, and softening the light considerably.
6x9 cm film
Because we only had two hours to work, very little ground was physically covered in the session. I doubt we moved more then 40 metres from the first image to the last, yet the rich variety of the session was great, ranging from classic, carefully posed poses to totally spontaneous ones. Partially this came from the Bili and Joe's comfort with the process, and their previous experience, but I also believe that a degree of it came form the reality that we all knew this was the last chance we'd have to work together before their return to Florida.
8"x10" film
In light of my feelings about our last session, I brought the 8"x10" as the main camera for this session. The more I work with the 8"x10" camera, the easier it is to translate my intent onto film fluidly, even more so then with the smaller 4"x5" camera. I am not positive where this comfort with the format comes from, but part of me feels it comes, quite simply, from the size of the ground-glass, where the image is composed. When I first moved to using view cameras in 1991, I reveled in all the information visible on the camera's focusing screen, but with the 8"x10" camera, with four times larger a ground glass, I can see so much more as I am composing. Whatever the reason, I find working with the Toyo an absolute joy, and I think this enthusiasm and pleasure translates well though my images with the camera.

As short as the session was, it produced some strong images with a variety of emotional tones. The light changed rapidly as the sun rose, and before we left, the entire for where we were working was bathed in a warm morning light, as the sun rose above the haze. While never as contrasty as noon light, this morning light provided great description for the model's bodies, in contrast to the hard and linear lines of the concrete and metal that surrounded them.
8"x10" film
At the end of the session 11 8"x10" negatives had been exposed, along with a roll of colour, and a partial roll of infrared. The results made we wish that we'd had more time to pursue other possibilities in the space, but given the time we had, I am incredibly pleased with the results. Given that I can count the number of early-morning session I have done in my life on one hand, I think in that I shall try to pursue more of this light in the future, if I can find models who'll brave the chill morning air.

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