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.
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.
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
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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