March 11, 2002

The First Session with R_ in 2002 (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Because R_ began working with me last winter, the two of us have actually worked together indoors far more then we have outdoors. This is a small source of frustration for me, as she's such a good model and I by far prefer working outdoors, but as I'd rather photograph then not, I take whatever time R_ can provide me with. To date, this had turned out to me predominantly indoor sessions.
6x7 cm film
For this session, I decided to change my approach to the work I've been doing with the white sheets indoors; rather then suspend it over the window to diffuse the light, I opted to hang the sheet as a backdrop half-way into the room, and set R_ against it, as opposed to below it. This permitted me to photograph her with the window behind me.
6x7 cm film
The altered design of my make-shift studio created a setting where the lighting for the image came from directly behind me. Edward Weston, one of the world's greatest photographers, made a number of Nudes using a similar setting to this, and the results from this session are an homage of sorts. The new set-up worked well, being both a challenge for R_ in terms of posing, and myself in terms of composition. The room we worked in is not very large, and for a number of images, I had the camera right against the deck doors, in order to achieve the framing I was seeking.

6x7 cm film
Taking a risk during a session, such as working with a new studio set-up, or testing a new kind of film, is something that an extended relationship with a model such as R_ can provide. With first-time models, the emphasis of the session is on gaining their confidence, and producing images which will build on my work as a whole, as opposed to pushing the envelope. One of the luxuries of extended relationships is that they provide room for experimentation and the taking of risks.
6x7 cm film
After working with the white sheet as a backdrop for the better part of an hour, both R_ and I had exhausted our ideas for the set-up, and quickly shifted the room around to the old approach, with the sheet diffusing the window light. Because so many strong images had passed before my eyes with the last hour, I was feeling a little burned out, but between R_ and I, we still managed to produce a number of striking images, most of the revolving around sitting and kneeling poses, trying to break out of the prone, lying poses I usually work with on the bed.

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