July 25, 2004

Sue Ellen on Green Mountain

When I saw Sue-Ellen's new model listing online, I immediately e-mailed her, to ask if she'd take a look at my work and consider meeting me to talk about working together. After a couple of days we had made plans to meet up and talk, and depending on how that went, to spend the rest of the day making photographs.
Digital original
We met just before lunch, and after a good meal, lots of photo albums and some discussion about my work, and her previous experiences, we said she'd be happy to work with me, and we headed off. One distinct advantage to working with local models is that they often know of spaces to work in, and Sue-Ellen was no exception - she knew of a small waterfall which she thought would be a good place to work, and guided us there with no problem (other than the half-hour walk into the space).

Once we arrived at the river, we quickly set down to work; Sue-Ellen had modeled nude in the past, but was not experienced with working in landscape, so much of the time at first was spent helping her work out poses, and creating our initial compositions. While every model brings their own individuality to a session, to a large degree, the actual process is the same from person to person, with either the model or I suggesting a space, and then building upon that initial inspiration. Often the refining of a pose is started by a model (after all, they are in the position, and know what is comfortable), and then the final revision is done by myself, from behind the camera.
Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend
Once Sue-Ellen had the first couple of images, she began to get the hang of my process and the rest of the session flowed a little faster. The biggest damper on the session was the water temperature - I think to date I have been spoiled, as most of the streams and rivers I've worked with have been fed out of lakes, and thus been warmer. As far as I could tell, this stream had no feeder origin and as a result the water was quite cool...apart from the final image, where Sue-Ellen lay directly back in shallow water, the most she could bear was to put a foot or two in the water - as much as I wanted to work with her in the moving water, it was out of the question
8"x10" film
In the end, the session was good, if short - we spent almost as much time traveling as shooting which was a little frustrating, and because of the cool water, we couldn't realize the full potential of the space, much as we'd wanted to. In some ways, the session was more about laying ground-work then the single-minded pursuit of beauty. With Sue-Ellen living much closer then Halifax, I hope to work with her again, and build on the images we made (perhaps with warmer water!). That being said, most of the time when I have a rental car, I'm heading to Halifax to teach, in exactly the opposite direction!

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