May 19, 2002

Carol Indoors (Feltzen South, Nova Scotia)

I had hoped this would be my first outdoor session with a model for the year, but the weather didn't co-operate; this spring has been one of the coldest I can remember, and though the day was sunny, the air was too cool for outdoor nudes. Fortunately, we had a good indoor space to work in, and rather then let the day go, we decided to do what we could indoors. As it turned out, the furnace was broken in the house we were using, so we had to resort to a fire in the woodstove to heat the house up to a reasonable temperature for working.
6x7 cm film
Though I had hoped to work on the Lunenburg Shoreline, I quickly reshaped my plans for the day to match the reality of the situation; I knew there was a wealth of possibilities to an indoor session, between straightforward Nudes to portraits, and more explorations with skulls and bone.

After a couple of rolls of portraits and bodyscapes that served as an icebreaker for Carol (it was her first session modeling nude), we began to work with a caribou antler, a beautiful white form which just called out to be mixed with the human body.
6x7 cm film
My first images of a Nude with a skull were made in Alberta, with Victoria, in 1999. These were followed up two years later with images of Cassandra with a skull. The combinations of the Nude and these natural forms is so beautiful, I suspect I could dedicate a whole project to the idea (I am already working on trying to get a moose skull and antlers for a photo session). With Carol , it didn't take long before we began to find poses that took full advantage of the lines and flow of the antler.

We worked on the floor with the caribou antler for a full hour, making a whole series of images that
played off the interplay of line and form. With that complete, we changed the setting and the image content, with Carol working against a white wall with a ram's skull (the same skull that I photographed Cassandra with last year). The session closed on a striking image, of the stark white skull positioned over Carol's hips.

6x7 cm film
For a session that I'd intended to have been outdoors, the available light work with Carol, and most specifically, the work of her and the skulls, was striking and inspiring. While I did use the 8"x10" camera during the session, it was dominated by the more fluid and speedy approach granted by the Mamiya RB, which produced images more then sharp enough for my critical eye. Had the house been warmer, or there been more time, I would have pulled the larger camera into service more, but as the session went, the Mamiya was the perfect tool to use.

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