March 19, 2003

A First-time Studio Session

35mm infrared film
Many of the people I photograph with happen to be photographers; I suspect this is in part due to their attraction to the medium, and also, given my focus on the Nude, their interest and comfort with the subject matter. With Constance, she has an interest in both sides of the equation, and all through the evening we first met, talk moved between discussing the world of photography in general, and the specifics of working with me. In the end, we decided upon a studio session, primarily because of her fascination with the look of 35mm infra-red. Since December, I've had some serious technical difficulties with Kodak HIE, but given Constance's enthusiasm, I thought I would take one last stab at getting the film to perform as it should. We set a time for the session, and just under a week later, reconvened at the studio.
35mm infrared film
One thing that was very different about the session with Constance was that she has several large, prominent tattoos. I generally avoid tattoos in my imagery, as I find them jarring to the flow of the body. It isn't that the models I often work with have no tattoos, more that I just have become very good at avoiding them. With Constance, however, there was no way to avoid the tattoos, so I just decided to not worry about them. The vast majority of the images we made show the ink-work, and with the portraits, I don't think there is any loss to the power of the image - they are portraits of the woman, after all.
8"x10" film
The only images that I really worked hard to keep the tattoos out of were a series of images I made with the 8"x10" camera. These came out of some sketches I did with the 35mm camera, working with a single light high and to the side of Constance. I decided to keep the focus clearly on her face, so I threw the rest of her body out of focus using a severe lens tilt, and kept her tattoos invisible through careful positioning, and placement of her hair.

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