October 07, 2003

A First Session


By the time the year turns to October, working outdoors becomes somewhat dicey - the weather can turn quite cold quickly, so every session I can squeeze out of the fall is seen as a gift. Nicole and I had initially hoped to work together a week earlier, but Hurricane Juan roared through Nova Scotia that weekend, effectively paralyzing the province for several days and forcing us to reschedule. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and the next week we were able to meet up and actually get out to work together before the weather grew too cold.
8"x10" film
When we were discussing where Nicole would like to model, she immediately suggested a coastal setting - being from Europe, she wanted images that were distinctly Nova Scotia, and something with the rocks and water of the Atlantic Coast spoke most directly to her. So we headed to Herring Cove, close enough to take advantage of the couple of hours we had to work together, yet right on the ocean. The day was just warm enough to be workable, but between poses, Nicole was more than happy to throw on a sweater in an effort to keep comfortable.

Interestingly enough, the longer we worked, the less the air temperature was an issue (Victoria mentions in the Revealing Beauty video that she feels the body became acclimatized to cooler temperatures during an outdoor session) , and the images happened with a little more fluidity. We made a couple of images that specifically worked with the body in contrast to the ocean, bit the images that I feel are the most successful are the images where her body is set against the strong, angular rocks that line the edge of Halifax Harbour.
8"x10" film
Every time I have a first session with a new model, there is a great unfolding - before the session, everything is uncertain; I have no idea how the model will respond to the process or how they will respond to the space. Some models take time to grow comfortable with the process, while others (experienced and not) seem immediately comfortable with the experience, and seem immediately at home. With Nicole, however, because of the cool weather, we worked out the compositions and poses with her clothed first and then quickly refined the poses and framing when she had disrobed. This put such an emphasis on the physics of making the images with the minimum amount of discomfort for the model that there seemed no time to worry about the response of the model to working with me.
Digital original
One of the most pleasing images of the session was quite a surprise; all my digital images are made in colour, and then post-processed into black and white, but one of the portraits I did of Nicole leaning against a rock wall was composed as a horizontal portrait - and in colour it was very striking - so much so that I decided to leave it that way - the warmth of Nicole's skin goes well with the shock of pink hair.

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