The first half of the final morning of R_'s stay in Halifax was spent working with diffused morning light. During the previous two sessions, I'd used medium and small format cameras, but for this series of images, I set those cameras aside, and returned to my 8"x10", making seven negatives over the 90 minutes we had to work.
The influence on process which camera exert cannot be overemphasized;
smaller cameras lend themselves to spontaneous, quick images, while
larger, slower cameras demand more attention be made to every aspect,
before an exposure is made. This session, in contrast to the previous
evening's work, was all about careful seeing, and exact framing. The
drawbacks of the larger camera - less depth of field, slower physical
operation, and fewer images a session, are more then compensated by the
increased care that these aspects force onto the process.
narrow depth of field of the longer lens (on the 8"x10" camera, my 375mm
lens has the same angle of view as a 60mm lens on a 35mm camera, but
much less depth of field for the same F-stop) is somewhat off-set by the
ability to tilt and swing the lens, so the focus flows along the body,
as opposed to parallel to the film. The slower operation that the camera
demands simply increases the care of composition and exposure, and the
limited number of negatives per session further reinforces this care.
With smaller, faster cameras, the inclination is to make many images,
and then edit afterwards to get the best images - with the 8"x10" this
just isn't an option; after six images are made, I am half way through
my film, so I strive to make every exposure count.. And of course the
biggest reward and reason to use the larger camera is the larger
negative. The results in terms of image fidelity and tonal range is
reason enough for all the changes it requires to be made upon the
The morning light, when diffused through a white sheet, provided me with a delicate, descriptive light, which worked well with the curves and lines which I chose to focus upon. In some ways, this work is the antithesis to my outdoor work, which is about the body and landscape and how they visually interact. By contrast, these photos are about R_'s body alone.
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