March 12, 2004

A Couple in Montreal

The last figure session of the Montreal visit was also the one most short-changed by the hectic schedule. I had intended the session to run from 1pm until the light left (around 4:30), but due to a change of plan with the gallery I was presenting work to, I had to wrap the session up by 3pm. This gave only two hours for the session, and while this might have been more than enough for a short session with experienced models, this was my first session with Mary-Jane and Mattaeo, which by necessity meant much of the session was spent just getting the models comfortable with the process.
Digital original
For this session, the issue was even more emphasized by the fact that I hadn't had a chance to sit down with with the models before the session to discuss my work and their expectations. While this was a less than perfect situation, Mary Jane assured me that it wasn't an issue, as she'd been through my site, and was quite familiar with my work as a whole (though in hindsight, she did mention she likely would have responded much differently to the process if she'd had had the meeting with me before the session).

While the intent of the session was to work with Mary Jane, her partner Matteo accompanied her and, as we were setting up for the session, Joy asked if he was planning to model as well. After a short and somewhat scattered conversation/debate, he indicated he wasn't opposed to the possibility, if an image presented itself. I told Matteo that one of my favorite subjects to work with was couples and that if he was comfortable, I'd be sure to take advantage of his presence.
Digital original
I began the session with a series of portraits of Mary Jane, both to get a feel for how she responded to the camera and how she photographed. Once those were finished, I shifted to working with her sitting in front of a suspended white sheet - this space had been set up for Marie-Eve but to work with Mary-Jane, I shifted it to be perpendicular to the windows, creating a space that was side-lit, as opposed to front-lit.

After a couple of compositions on her own, I asked Matteo if he'd like to contribute his arms to the image (this both completed what I saw as a potential image through the viewfinder, and gave him a first step to working fully nude). After a whole series of images revolving around Matteo embracing Mary Jane from behind, I change the setting again to working standing by the windows, and asked if Matteo was ready to do some fullbody poses. He jumped right in, and for the remainder of the frustratingly brief session, I worked with the two models.
Digital original, 7 frame stitch
It is a wonderful gift, being permitted to photograph a couple together - there is a natural energy generated by two people so comfortable with each other and this, combined with the intimate quality generated by the nudity, leads to undeniably personal photos. Many of the couple I've worked with have been good friends, but even in a situation like this sesion, where the models have never met me before, because the session focuses on the chemistry between the models, the images are just as striking, giving voice to the tenderness and affection between the models. The only thing lacking from the session was the time to take full advantage of the potential unfolding before me, in the embrace of the two models.

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