March 31, 2003

Miranda in a Daylight Tub

35mm infrared film
About two months ago, I learned that a co-worker of mine had a bathroom with a claw-footed bathtub below a window. Thinking back to the bathroom sessions in the fall of 2001, I immediately asked if it might be possible to work with a model in the space. My friend said it wouldn't be a problem, and when I asked Miranda if she had time to model, she was immediately keen. But as these things go, it was more then six weeks later before the three schedules came together to permit me to access the space.

The space turned out to be very different from what I'd envisioned - there was a perfectly positioned window above the tub, but it was too high up to give the reflections I'd hoped for in the water. The light coming in the window was absolutely beautiful, however, so I began the session with her standing in the tub; the late afternoon light raked across Miranda's torso giving a wonderful glow from behind. We had a translucent cloth in place of a shower curtain and the first images of the session were made using that as a foil. This is atypical of my work in two ways; first, the model using an element of the environment as a "prop" is uncommon and second, the images were more "romantic" in feel then my usual work. I am not sure where this approach is heading, but I do know I like the initial experiments, and plan to continue to push the approach.
35mm infrared film
Once we'd finished working with the window and curtain, we filled the bath and I started to work with Miranda in the bathtub proper. I had hoped that the window could be reflected in the water, to give some highlight and form to the figure in the water, but apart from photographing from directly above, there was almost no way to see the window in the water. As a result, much of the water imagery was top-down, limiting some of the possibilities that I'd anticipated.
35mm infrared film
In the end, the bathroom session yielded a number of very striking images, despite the space differing from my expectation and an equipment glitch. I had hoped to work with both 35mm infra-red film and my 8"x10" camera but a crucial part of the view camera was left behind, so I had only the smaller camera. The session didn't suffer for the minimalist approach, but I would like to return to the space with the 8"x10" to see what images could be made.

(On a historical note, this was my last session using infrared film, as I set aside 35mm cameras when i began using Digital SLRs in April 2003; I would eventually return to working with infrared light in 2005).

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