March 22, 2004

Photographing Natasha in Natural Light

The second (and final) day of my short Halifax trip started with me working indoors at Natasha's apartment; I hadn't seen the space before, but given the small and dim rooms I'd worked in to date, I assured her that as long as there was a decent amount of space and some light, it would work out fine. As it turned out, the room she made available to work in had a large window facing a white sun-lit building, perfect for providing a soft directional light.
8"x10" film
On the surface, the session was quite similar to the previous day's session, with soft window light and a white couch but really situation was quite different. Where the exposures from the previous day was quite long, the bright light in Natasha's apartment made it quite easy to work with the 8"x10" camera, and the white futon turned out to be a wonderful setting for the images, with quite a different quality from the sheet covered couch from the previous afternoon.

We began with Natasha lying on the couch - the obvious thing to do I guess, but with the bare wall above the couch, I immediately wanted to work with a vertical image, with a Nude curled at the bottom of the frame (again, an image strongly influenced by a nude of Kylie against the wall made in January). The balance between such a simple wall, place din two third of the image, and the futon and Nude placed at the bottom seemed to call out to me directly. I had thought that the room size might be a problem, but as soon as I put the 150mm wide angle lens on the camera (equal to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera) I actually had to move the camera closer to the futon to frame the image as tight as I wanted to be.
Digital original
 Because of the higher light levels, this session was a more natural mix of digital and film than many of the sessions to date have been. From the beginning of the year, most of the sessions have focused on digital images, with the view camera brought in when appropriate images presented themselves, but with Natasha, a number of images started at 8"x10" compositions, and the digital camera was only introduced after the main image was recorded.
Digital original
From the opening images to the end of the session, the good light persisted, and the minimalist setting helped keep the compositions and poses simple and classical. Natasha worked lying on the couch for about half the session, until we shifted to making some portraits, first sitting up, and then (as for the portrait to the left) standing on the couch (I had her stand on the couch so she could lean against the wall - that gave enough stability to the poses to permit working with the view camera). All in all, the images from the session have a quiet strength to them that I find quite appealing - as much a testimony to Natasha's poise and presence as to my ability to record what is present to work with.

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