February 14, 2004

Miranda Models on Valentine's Day

Something that I have become more and more aware of is how much my own images influence where my work heads. As a younger photographer, I often used other people's images as inspiration, working with an idea they had and molding it into my own. Now however, what is far more common is making an image, and then a day, a week or a month later, making a second image that takes the same basic elements of the first images, and pushes them further. I suspect this has always happened in my work but I have been increasingly conscious of it in the past year or so.
8"x10" film
When Miranda showed me the corner of her room she had cleared for us to work in, I immediately thought of an image I'd made a month earlier with Kylie, standing against a bare wall. When I'd framed up that composition, I'd worried a little that the figure would seem to small in the image and be lost to the emptiness around it. To the contrary, that image turned out to be one of my favorites and as soon as I saw the white bed, pillows, walls and ceiling, I immediately sought out compositions that would take advantage of the same sense of open space that worked so well with Kylie. The end result was a very different image for me in that it relies upon delicate white tones as opposed to dark shadows to describe the space, but it still has the "small figure in a large room" feeling that was so surprising with the initial image.
8"x10" film
In contrast to our work in Moncton, the indoor session with Miranda in Halifax was wholly back to my tradition of working with available light. Lit by a single pair of windows, much of the bed was in a soft shadow, which made it very different to work with from the white sheets I usually employ. For most of the images, as opposed to shooting into the light, I worked beside the window, with the light flooding across the bed - in contrast, when I work with white sheets, I shoot directly towards the light, using the back-lighting to provide edge lighting to the Nude.
Digital original
Miranda and I worked through much of the afternoon, with the session drawing to a close only when the setting sun stopped striking the room windows directly (because we were working to the side of the window, when this happened, the light level dropped dramatically). I was pleasantly surprised with the mix of 8"x10" work, and digital images; usually indoor images tend to focus on one or the other but with the even light, I was able to rate the HP5+ film I use in the view camera at 800 ISO, giving me a little speed with which to work (as the contrast of light goes down, with black and white film you can increase the effective ISO, and compensate for the speed increase in the darkroom - with a digital camera, unfortunately it doesn't work the same way). When I'd first seen the space in which we were going to work, I had thought it would be a totally digital session...much to my surprise it was much more balanced between the two camera formats.

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