April 22, 2003

The Year's First Outdoor Figure Session

6x7 cm film
When Constance first contacted me about my work, and the possibility of modeling, she was specifically interested in outdoor images. Because of the time of year though, our first session was indoors; when the weather finally warmed up enough to work outdoors, it worked out perfectly for Constance and me.

The location we chose was carefully selected to be away from the ocean because, while the sunlight was warm enough, there was still a cool breeze from the east, which ruled out working along the coastline. We worked several hundred meters from the highway, in a secluded space with both rocks, water and trees - everything I needed for a successful session.
6x7 cm film
The first half of the session was spent working on a large pile of granite rocks, with the sun flowing across the rock-faces. After a couple of rolls were exposed there, we moved to the other side of the rocks, where we found a small pond, complete with glacial erratics emerging from it. It was here that the most engaging images of the session were made, working first with the reflections of the rocks and figure in the water, and finally with the contrast between the Nude upon the rocks, and the reflections of the still naked trees in the water around Constance. By this time next months these images would be impossible to make due to the emerging leaves.

The greatest challenge for the session was working around Constance's tattoos. I made a conscious decision in the studio to not worry about showing them in the portraits but for my outdoor work, where the body is seen as more of a universal, I prefer to avoid such individualistic elements. For the most part, I could simply work from angles where the ink work was concealed from view, but sometimes I had to either use Constance's hair to cover the tattoos or simply hope that they would appear to small or subtle to show from a distance.
6x7 cm film
Because this was only her second session working with me, Constance was a little hesitant when it came to the posing; very quickly into the session, however, she seemed to realize the collaborative flow that I try to develop, with my initial directions being refined by her revisions, as dictated by her comfort and the location. It is impossible for me to do all the directing for poses outdoors (or indoors for that matter), so the quicker a models develop a rapport with me that leads to pose revision and suggestion, the better.

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