October 31, 2004

Bobbi Poses in a Studio

Digital original

As the year draws to a close, the days get shorter and colder; I by necessity begin to move my image-making indoors. While most of my indoor work is with available light, when the resources present themselves, and the situation calls for it, I do work in a lighting studio.
Digital original
At the end of October, a friend and I had made plans for me to come to Halifax to help her with some view camera photography she was having issues with; as part of these plans, I kept an evening open to work in the studio with Bobbi. She and I have produced a broad variety of work since our first session in May but, to date, we have never worked together in a studio (the irony of this, of course, is that she first met me at a Studio Lighting Workshop that I helped co-ordinate). I often complain about how frustrated I am with studio sessions but, truth be told, I do enjoy them, for all their shortcomings. In some ways, they function more as sounding boards and practice sessions, but they do function.
Digital original
I began the session working with the same mirror which had fostered the creation of the Simulacra work and then moved onto more traditional portrait and body-abstract images. I worked for almost the entire session with a black background, preferring the more stylized look to my more usual approach with white sheets. It was only at the end of the session that I switched to working with Bobbi lying on the sheets and I by far prefer the dramatic, stark nature of the black backgrounds.

October 16, 2004

Fern Models in a Studio

One of the last people I'd expected to work with during my visit to Halifax was Fern; when I'd emailed people to let them know the dates of my visit, L_, Fern's sister passed the message on, and just by chance, while L_ was busy for the weekend, Fern was in town (she attends university outside of Halifax), and available for a couple of hours of modeling.
8"x10" film
This was my first indoor session working with Fern on her own; previously I've worked indoors with her and her sister, but as a solo session, this presented an opportunity to focus on just Fern, as opposed to the relationship between the two siblings.

I had expected the session to be spent working with studio flash; the day was cold and wet, and given access to a fully equipped studio, it seemed like the obvious solution. However, when we set up and started working, I had some problems getting my cameras to work with the studio flash (a problem with my synchronization cord, as it turned out), so rather than give up on the session, totally, we moved to plan B, opening the curtains on the large frosted double doors, and shifting gears to work with available light.
Digital original
This wasn't the first time a studio session has spontaneously changed to an available light session (the session with Christina is another good example of this occurrence), but it was the first that happened on a day with poor weather. My first concern was whether Fern would be able to hold poses still enough to keep them sharp on film; the low light levels were not a problem with the digital camera, because of its faster lenses, but with my portrait lens on the 8"x10" camera letting in 20x less light then the portrait lens for the EOS 10D digital camera, it wouldn't take too much to make working in the lower light a problem.
Digital original
As it turned out, there was just enough light to work with (only three of the ten 8"x10" negatives showed any motion blur), and the session was fabulous. Fern is a very animated, vivacious woman, and between her energy, and the beautiful directional window light, we spend several hours working between classical portraits, playful nudes (I seldom have smiles in my portraits, but when they do crop up, the end up looking playful and fun to me), and a few abstract nudes. As with many indoor sessions, I focused predominately upon Fern as a person, and worked with the nudity as a foil to introduce a sense of intimacy, comfort and unrestrained beauty into the photographs that we created together.