I continually return to candles as a light source for the Nude, both because it is convenient and inexpensive to use during the long Canadian winter nights, and because of the particular qualities that the candles lend to the images. As a single point light source that can be included in the image, I use the candle itself as the highlight and all the other tones in the image begin there; this is a strong contrast to most of my outdoor nudes where the body is usually the most luminous object.
This particular session, my first to mix candles with water, began at
11pm, after an eleven hour workday. R_ had contacted me earlier in the
week, asking if I'd have time to work with her over the weekend; we
discussed the possibilities, and she expressed an interest in modeling
with other models, exploring the possibilities with that very different
approach to imaging the Nude. I made some quick calls, and arranged for
two sessions with other models over the three days that R_ would be in
When she arrived, however, R_ didn't want to wait until
the next evening to model, and asked if there was anything we could do
immediately. As I had some 3200 ISO film on hand, I suggested we do some
candle images in the bathtub; we'd begun our work together in May with
similar work, and R_ was keen to build on that. Because it was so late
when we started, and because I had to work all day the next day, I kept
the session short.
Less then an hour after we'd started, I had two full rolls of 35mm exposed, and a number of strong images dancing in my mind's eye. The most successful image of the evening, to the left, stuck with me through the entire weekend, but it was only after R_ left that I was able to process the film, and confirm that the image was strong. The bright highlight on the breast, and the dark, inky shadow between it and the silhouette in the water were exactly how I'd perceived the image through the camera, and though the image is quite grainy due to the use of such high speed film, the overall effect is exactly what I'd sought. The addition of the bathtub to what was already such a familiar tool, the candle, proved to be both exciting and successful, something I am sure I will continue to push further.