August 05, 2002

Fern at North River

Until mid summer, I was wondering if I would ever get a real chance to work with water Nudes this year - apart from the images of Carol and Miranda from the end of June, the year hadn't been conducive to water Nudes....until now. August seems to have finally brought the hot water, and with it, the prospect of spending a day working in a cool river or stream is particularly enticing.
35mm infrared film
When we first arrived at North River, a space I'd never worked at before, but which came highly recommended, I was rather dismayed by the lack of water - while there was certainly water flowing in the river, as opposed to a torrent of rushing water all the river contained was a gentle flow.

As we walked upriver, however, my evaluation of the situation rapidly changed, as the river opened up into a couple of shallow pools, each of which had a gently rippling surface surrounded by dark trees. I instantly thought of how well a model's skin would be set off in contrast to this, and we set to work. As it happened, the surroundings were so dark there was almost no detail left in the water surrounding the model. Initially, these images were a little disconcerting, but the more I live with them, the more they are growing upon me.
8"x10" film

The best image of the session (and one of my favorite of the year) came when we were working on a large expanse of bedrock, through which the river had carved a narrow waterway. In the spring, I am sure the entire rock is underwater, but with the low water level of mid summer, it was just a rush through the narrow cut. We made a few experiments, and then hit on a stunning pose - Fern lay back in one of the smooth hollows formed by the water, and instantly the image came together. I switched to the 150mm wide angle lens, positioned the camera almost directly above her, and make the image.
8"x10" film
After working with the ocean two sessions in a row, it was very different to set about making images in a river. Where the ocean is vast and open, surrounded by sky and open air, the rivers I enjoy working on are all surrounded by trees, and generally less then a meter deep at any point. This changes how I can work, because I can not only work in the water, as I was with L_ and Krista, but I can also frequently work from above the model, looking down in to the scene.

A major source of frustration on the earlier beach sessions was how limited I was in vantage point - it was impossible to get higher then two meters off the ground. While a low perspective can be quite striking, it quickly lend a homogeneous look to the work that would be better avoided. With the river spaces, the option of working from a higher vantage point is not only present, it is often obligatory, with there not being enough room in the space for the model and the camera.
8"x10" film
The session wrapped itself up after a series of images made in more rapidly moving water - just above the pool where we began working the river narrowed between rocks and the pace picked up quite a bit. Working between the 8"x10" and 35mm cameras, I made a number of images taking full advantage of the landscape, with perspectives and view-points very different from the earlier work on Sandy beach.

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