July 10, 2003

Elisabeth & L_ Together


After the first session at Burntcoat Head, I was eager to return with more time, and capture more of the possibilities I saw there. Unfortunately, though I was able to arrange the day, and find two willing models, I messed up even worse on my reading of the tide tables - we arrived after a ninety minute drive to find the tide in - there wasn't a single foot of walkable shore line! Crest fallen at the loss of such a great space, the models agreed to taking the slow road home, in the hopes that a decent alternate location would present itself.
Digital original
Less then thirty minutes later, we stopped by an overgrown field with an old barn in it; the field rose above the road, and then sloped away, so there was no chance of being seen from the road. The waist high grasses looked perfect for standing nudes; I'd done some images of Victoria in long grasses in Alberta, and was quite enthusiastic to continue building on the idea I'd begun in 1999.
8"x10" film
Both Elizabeth and L_ have very warm complexions which look beautiful against the verdant green of the field. Given this, I began the session with the EOS 10D, making some digital colour portraits with the models set against the almost monochrome green behind them. I also wanted to work in black and white, however, to contrast the smooth skin of the models against the chaotic patterns of the grasses and trees. With this in mind, I turned to working with the 8"x10" camera; this also meant a change to the image look - with the longer 360mm lens, it was impossible to have the image sharp throughout. As a result, I chose to use a fairly narrow aperture to throw both the foreground and the background out of focus. The pose, the two models leaning against each other, came from an earlier session where I'd placed the models back to back. That image failed for a technical reason, but I liked the pose, and the results in this location were everything I'd seen then and more. There is a grace and delicacy to the pose that is beautifully framed by the pale grasses and dark trees behind.
8"x10" film
The end of the session was spent working against the foundation of the old barn. The weathered concrete had a beautiful texture to it, and while it lacked some of the grad qualities present in the sea of grass surrounding it, the barn was a perfect spot to use as a backdrop for the models. I initially had thought to make a couple of portraits against the barn, but as I was setting up, Elisabeth looked down, and the wind caught her hair. I immediately changed my composition, and made a more classic Nude, focusing on the lines of Elisabeth's body set against the subtle chaos of the wall behind her. The final image has the slightest hint of wind-blur to Elisabeth's hair, which combined with the gentle swing to her hips in the same direction gives the whole image a definite directional bent.

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