June 29, 2003

Elisabeth and L_ Model Together

8"x10" film
This session was with Elisabeth and L_ - initially it was to be with only one of them, but as the other was free, it turned into a two-model session. Both are excellent models, both in terms of their interest and engagement with the work, and their comfort in working together. As both models were present, we began the session with some portraits; I see these as natural extensions of an earlier indoor nude portrait we created in March, but there is a different feel to the image, due to the natural setting. I really like making Nude portraits, and the chance to make one of L_ and Elisabeth together in such a different environment was great - sort of a study in how the setting can change the tone of an image. Where the indoor portrait has an implication of intimacy (an interesting fact, given the two models are only roommates), the standing portrait against the rock wall has a much more documentary feel.
8"x10" film
The most surprising image of the session came as I was directing Elisabeth into a pose - I'd asked her to stretch out along the ridge of a small cascade of water, but as she moved to lower herself, she stretched out, and I caught a glimpse of the pose, and asked her to hold it. It took a few minutes to set up the camera, and make two exposures (one with a short, and one with a long shutter speed). I knew the results would be strong, not only because of how striking the photo had looked on the 8"x10" camera's ground glass, but also because of how good previous images had turned out in the same space. In 2001, I had created two beautiful Nudes in the same space, one with Cassandra and one with R_.
Digital original, 3 frame stitch
The final images of the day were more portrait Nudes, this time with a different perspective; both the models were located on a rock shelf where the brook flows in the spring run-off; the camera was looking down upon them, which is very different for my outdoor portraits. At first, I was making portraits of Elisabeth on her own, but I realized the lighting and angle was so striking that the two models would work well in the space. It was a little hard for the models to hold their positions on the rock face, and even more frustrating for myself, working with the tripod on the rock ledge above them, but the final image has great life to it, with rich expressions on both model's faces, and beautiful light falling across them both. A great conclusion to a very successful afternoon of photography.

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