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.

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