November 24, 2002

An Indoor Session with Aurora (and the Second Shower Session)

The second session at Aurora's house built on the strengths of the first, but took advantage of the considered approach demanded by my 8"x10" view camera. I was a little concerned about the amount of light in her apartment, but the morning was sunny and bright, and though none of the windows had direct light, a large yellow building across the street acted as a large reflector, and kicked up more then enough light for our needs.
6x7 cm film
We began the session working on the couch. I had thought the most successful images would have been an 8"x10" negative of Aurora's full figure stretched out. The large negative seemed called for by the delicate tones of the light couch and the darker wall, but when I had finished processing the negatives, it was the infra-red images on the couch that caught my attention. The diffused light combined with the enhanced grain of the infra-red film to render a delicate, romantic image of a slumbering mother-to-be. Normally I don't think of my work as "romantic", but I can't think of another term appropriate for this image.
6x7 cm film
From the living room, we moved into the dining room, a small space with beautiful light coming in through a curtained window. While the living room had almost no spaced with open, uncluttered backgrounds, the dining room was exactly the opposite, with a beautiful unsullied wall against which we could work. On of the best discoveries of working in Aurora's apartment was the joy of working with off-white walls; all the work I have done over the past two years with white backdrops and sheets had made me forget the subtle separations that can occur with a figure against a delicate grey.
8"x10" film
The end of the session was by far the most engaging. Aurora returned to the shower, but instead of my being frustrated with the distortion of the window that took place with the medium format camera, this time I had the 8"x10" Toyo, and was able to shift the lens to the side to maintain the rectangular shape of the window. We revisited the successful images that we had made the week before, using the initial session as a sketchpad for the work of the day. I was unsure if the images could actually be made as the 8"x10" camera needs a proportionally longer exposure (1/4 of a second, compared to 1/15th the week before), but careful pre-focusing, combined with Aurora's leaning against the wall for added stability worked like a charm - the images were all tack sharp, and everything I could have hoped for. By far, the shower nudes of Aurora from this session are my favourite of all the images we have done to date.

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