February 26, 2002

J_ & Miranda Model Together (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

My work seems to come in waves, and where I might go months or even years between working on a particular style of imagery, I might then suddenly do nothing but that approach. My work with multiple models over the last six months has been a good case in point. While I always try to make images about relationships whenever the situation permits, there have been a great number of opportunities to make images of two models together, leading to a great blossoming of my work in this area
35mm negative
Both Miranda and J_ had worked with R_ last fall, and out of that session, this one was born; both models didn't have a chance to work with me then, but were more then willing to facilitate a session....unfortunately, it was several months before our schedules worked out again!
35mm negative
Like the session above with Miranda on her own, the day for these photos was perfect; we had most of the afternoon to work, and the light coming through the sheets over the windows was bright and soft. Both models were totally comfortable working together, and this made the images all the more successful.

With models who share a relationship, much of the images that come from a couple session are drawn from their spontaneous interaction, but with models who are not partners, the images tend to come much more from suggestions and conscious poses then spontaneity. With Miranda and J_ however, it was a marriage of the two, as both women have a comfort with each other, and with modeling, that helped them to relax and just enjoy the session.
8"x10" film
The overall tone for the photographs we made was set very much by the warm, delicate tonality of the colour film. I find myself wondering if the session would have been anywhere as successful if I had chosen black and white film, as opposed to colour. The entire thalamus series has been recorded in colour, initially because it was what I had in hand, but eventually, it became the film of choice, because of the delicacy of the skin-tones, and because it separated the images from my other indoor work.

February 21, 2002

Miles and J_ in the Studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Though I've worked with Miles and J_ numerous times outdoors, and indoors a couple of times with natural light, I've never worked with them in the studio. This was less by design then by accident, so I was very much looking forward to what would result from taking two models who I work with so well into a new environment.
6x7 cm film
After making some stock images for a new digital composite image I was planning, we shifted into a less orchestrated approach, working off what the studio light brought before my eyes, and what the two models, alone, or together, created. After working to a script, just improvising the poses, and making the images the lighting suggested was very enjoyable. More then ever, I realized how much my work relies upon intuition and spontaneity.
6x7 cm film
The best work of the session came from the images of Miles and J_ together, though the successes were not limited to images that focused specifically on the interplay between two lovers. In the middle of the session, while both models were working upon sheets laid upon the floor, Miles arched his torso to the side, trying to work out a kink that had set in with the previous pose. The lines of light flowing down his side were beautiful, and I asked him to repeat the pose, this time with J_ lying across his legs. The resulting images were very strong, playing as much on light and  form as they do on the nudity and intimacy that gave birth to the photographs.
6x7 cm film
Probably the most interesting result of the studio session was how strongly J_ disliked posing in the studio setting (as opposed to modelling outdoors). The pace of the work was different from what she is used to, and the bright light of the flashes going off she found annoying. Usually, when I speak of my studio work, I discuss it from the perspective of the image maker, but hearing her discuss
it made me realize that it can present just as many challenges for the subject.

February 05, 2002

Miranda in a White Room (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

35mm negative

The series I call Thalamus began more then two years before this session, and yet I still find myself engaged by the beauty and simplicity that the Thalamus images contain. In some ways, these images are my most deliberate, premeditated images, yet they still keep the spontaneity element that I strive to generate. Working within a very basic set of parameters; a white sheet diffusing natural day light, a single model working on a bed or pull-out-couch, and images created with a narrow focus range, the results can vary widely, based as much upon the individual I am working with as the changing of the light, from one day to the next.
35mm negative
With Miranda, this session seemed almost an extension of our previous indoor session with her and Trav then an entirely new session. The light was wonderful, and Miranda as always was keen and enthusiastic, which is an interesting combination given that most of the session simply involved her lying around on the bed while I refined compositions and made exposures. The session was Miranda's first time modeling on her own indoors, and while I knew she would have no problem with the slightly different dynamic, it did serve to remind me of how much potential the human body on its own contains. I've been working so much with couples lately that I had forgotten the energy and brilliance of a well composed image of a single body can contain.
6x9 cm transparency film
This was one of my best indoor sessions of the year to date, not because of the results we generated, but simply because of the pace of the session. We worked over several hours in the afternoon, and came to and end before the light had faded altogether. The images came easily and seamlessly over the entire session, and nothing seemed hurried or rushed. While having restrictions on time is both a reality, and sometimes even a motivator, the luxury of having all the time you need to make the work before you is wonderful. The end of this session came when all the images had been made, and I was satisfied that nothing more could be gained by continuing.

February 04, 2002

Lymari Models Indoors (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

As with Bili and Joe, Lymari came up to Nova Scotia for a brief visit, but was more then happy to model before she returned to the sunny climes of Boston (she and two others had driven up through a snow-storm). When she had visited the previous summer it was more then warm enough for us to work outdoors, but with the temperatures outside below freezing, we opted for an indoor "white room" session.
35mm negative

Taking a cue from my successes with Trav and Miranda, I began the session working with a fast portrait lens, and narrow depth of field. The day wasn't as bright as it had been the previous day, which limited me to working exclusively on a tripod - a surprising limitation, given how much light the f/1.2 lens let in. This made the whole session a little less spontaneous, but tightened up some of the compositions, and permitted me a little more freedom to play with lines and form.
35mm negative
Where my other work this year has focused upon the bodies of lovers entwined, the session with Lymari became as much about her eyes as her body. While I did continuously return to making images that focused solely upon her body as form, it was the portraits which stayed in my mind's eye when the session was completed.
8"x10" film
I am somewhat tortured about portraiture; it has always been an area of imaging that has drawn me, and yet I am not sure what place it should hold, in the larger scale of my work. In a general sense, a portrait is most effective when the viewer knows the subject, but with many of the portraits I have produced (the nude portraits), they seem to be quite engaging even to total strangers. I suspect this lies in the complexity of a Nude Portrait, but I also wonder

February 03, 2002

Bili & Joe Indoors (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Bili and Joe came up to Halifax in the middle of the winter for a brief visit, but knowing they were coming, we'd planned to get in at least one session, to make the most of their presence.
35mm negative
My first images of Bili and Joe were also made indoors, in the winter of 1999, so the two models were more then familiar with my approach to indoor work. Over the intervening years, I've refined my approach and comfort with the style and changed from shooting transparencies to colour negative. This didn't really change the approach, but did affect the outcome, to some degree.
35mm negative
As with much of my indoor work, I set the models against a white sheet, lit from behind by a large window. This gave a beautiful luminous quality to the light, and provided beautiful description of the model's bodies.
35mm negative

Unlike the work we'd produced in 1999, these images are more based upon aesthetics then intimacy. Over and over, I built images that relied upon line and form, drawn to the wonderful juxtaposition of the two forms. I suspect this is rooted in the brevity of the Bili and Joe's visit; the session was short, and the only one we had time for. Generally I find it takes a session or two for models to get back into the flow of the process, even experienced ones. In the end, while it was more then easy to generate successful images with Bili and Joe, I suspect if we'd had time to work a second or third time, the work would have grown in