October 17, 2005

Colleen in Toronto

While my reason to visit Toronto was for the Naked in the House competition, I didn't have to be at the competition location until 2:30 pm. My morning was spent working with Colleen, a first-time model who'd just by chance contacted me a week before my Toronto visit, asking about modeling. The world works in mysterious ways.
Digital infrared original
As she'd both seen my work online, and personally knew Monique, a model with whom I had worked,, there weren't too many preliminaries to work through. so less than fifteen minutes after meeting, we had started to work together. Because I knew I would be working with Colleen, I'd brought not only my tripod (which I'd need for the competition in the afternoon), but my white and black sheets, to use as backgrounds for the work in the morning.

I began the session working with portrait poses, covering the background with the black sheet and using the large picture window as a light-source. I'd been somewhat worried about the light levels in Colleen's apartment, but there wasn't an issue - occasionally I even worked without the tripod, exploring the possibilities of shallow depth of field.
Digital infrared original
It is always a balancing act, working with a first-time model - the process of gaining the subject's confidence, all the while putting her at ease and insuring the session is enjoyable is an as important as getting the right exposures, selecting the right lens, or having the right light. With Colleen, it didn't take us long to hit our stride and the session very quickly evolved from the opening portraits to encompass everything from stylized body abstracts to full-frontal nudes. I even spent some time experimenting with long exposures and zooming the lens, something I normally would reserve for a session with a more experienced model as spending time on creative experiments in the middle of a first session is sometimes not the best way to spend valuable time.
Digital infrared original, 5 frame stitch
Hindsight being 20/20, the great irony of the day was that the morning's session, with the inexperienced first-time model was much more engaging, challenging and rewarding than the afternoon's session (below) in a multi-million dollar house with a professional model. I have no doubt this says as much about me as it does the process, but all the same, what I had though of as a warm-up session, working with Colleen before the Naked in the House competition in the afternoon, turned out to be the highlight of the day.

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