August 14, 2005

Jesse at the Gypsum Tower

Digital infrared original

I suppose the irony with Jesse is that she and I live in the same city and never seem to manage to find the time to work together. Ironically, this is highly influenced by the fact that when I have a car, I am often in Halifax teaching. On this weekend, though, I did had a rental car and was around Moncton, so the two of us managed to meet up and headed out for an afternoon of photography. Still a little unfamiliar with the areas possibilities close to Moncton, we opted to head to the old gypsum silos where I worked with Ingrid during my first outdoor Nude session in New Brunswick.
Digital infrared original, 8 frame stitch
As I'd previously worked in the space with a variety of models (including Ingrid and Miranda), I tried hard to take the cue for the session's images from Jesse's reactions to the space as she had never been there before. We started by making a series of images in one of the towers but relatively quickly shifted to working on the riverfront before them. I eventually wandered upriver to explore the possibilities in the grasses along the bank. We quickly discovered that the lovely green grasses were all rooted in thick red mud which totally removed any chance of working with Jesse lying among the grasses. We did, however, find some old weathered wooden posts set into the mud, and managed to make a small series of images working with one of posts with the river and far shore in the background of an image rooted in the sea of luminous grasses.
Digital infrared original, 5 frame stitch
After exhausting the possibilities of the grassy shore, we returned to the towers, but this time to work with the remains of the piers there, taking a cue from the image with the wood further down the shore. Set horizontally into the shore below the silos were a series of long wooden poles (I assume these once supported a dock or deck formation in front of the gypsum towers, but the rest of this is long gone, so it is hard to tell). The primary advantage of working with the wooden poles was they kept Jesse out of the mud and much on the riverbank (at this point, the Petticodiac River is fully tidal, with more than five meters of rise and fall twice a day!), but they also gave the image some definite structure, something to form the final composition around. In the end, after much experimentation and trial of angles of approaches, my favorite image is from above, looking down on the shoreline, with Jessie off to the side, looking sandwiched between two massive logs. Potentially a disturbing image if you don't understand the depth between the two poles, but quite striking visually, with Jesse's body the only highlight in the entire image.

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