May 30, 2006

A Pregnancy Session

Digital infrared original

To my mind, there is no doubt that the most magical time in a woman's life is during pregnancy, and the privilege of being able to work with a pregnant model is unparalleled. In this case, a friend of Lisa was in the final weeks of her pregnancy and was interested in having some photos made before her due date. We met up to talk about the process, discuss what kinds of images she sought specifically, and set the time for a session. A week later, we met for the session.
Digital infrared original, 6 frame stitch
The session was a mix of available light and studio images, as the model wished to have a broad variety of styles covered, running from anonymous silhouettes made with flash lighting to more typical (for me at least) nudes on a couch with natural light. One advantage of having worked for so long with the Nude is that I have a fair range of variety in the samples I can show a new model, so I can often get a good sense of what a model is looking for before even a single image is made.
Digital infrared original
At the time of the session, the model wasn't sure if she'd be comfortable being identifiable in the images, so we made two sets of each pose, one with her face, and one unidentifiable. In the end, she decided to keep things private, and only released anonymous images for public display. As the focus of the session was on the pregnancy, as opposed to the person, this doesn't seem to have much of a negative effect on the images at all.

May 24, 2006

Alexandra & Liam by Natural Light

Alexandra and Liam's second day in Moncton began with a short session together, before they resumed their drive home. As the session the night before was with studio flash, we set up the futon in the kitchen by the deck doors and worked for close to an hour with the morning light diffused by the curtains.
Digital original, 6 frame stitch
The session began with almost the same approach as I'd use the second time we'd worked together (also early in the morning, though not in Moncton) with the two models lying on the futon and cuddling, but unlike that session, we had side lighting, which lead to a totally different look. Almost all the images ended up being narrow panoramas, but as that worked for the subject, I wasn't going to complain.
Digital infrared original, 8 frame stitch
The second part of the session was spent with the two models working against the wall by the window - switching from a prone pose, to ones more active. Initially, we started with first Alexandra, then Liam kneeling on the floor, reaching up to the other standing behind them; this was more successful with Liam than Alexandra (who was even smaller in comparison when she was kneeling), yielding one of my favorite images.
Digital infrared original, 21 frame stitch
The best photographs of the session, however came last when I had Alexandra lean into Liam, standing behind her; the light flowing across them was beautiful, and their embrace, delicately focused on their faces and hands, is just wonderful. As the final image of the session, it was perfect to end on, an embodiment of everything that I look for in an image of a couple.

May 15, 2006

A Candle Lit Session with Lisa

Digital original

Lisa's enthusiasm for modeling was evident as soon as she saw the completed images from our first session together and we immediately planned a second session. After spending some time on my web site, she asked about the possibility of doing a candlelight session (I think the single most common request for first-time models is for a candlelight session, so this came as no surprise). For some, the candles appeal because of the security of working in the dark but, for Lisa, it was more the quality of the images produced that attracted her to the idea of working with candles.
Digital original
As with all my other candle sessions, this evening progressed at a slow, almost leisurely pace. It is near impossible to do candle-light nudes fast, given that each image is usually a second or more in exposure length and, after each candle move, it is necessary to wait until the air currents settle down and the candle stops flickering.
Digital original

In the end, the candle session was relatively short; ultimately there are only so many ways to light a figure with a candle and, while each model is different and yields a unique image, once the basic approaches are explored, a session like this can be completely realized in quite a short time. I think (especially after our first session in the studio, where we worked for several hours) Lisa was a little disappointed the session was so short, but hopefully the results will help modify that opinion.

May 14, 2006

An Architectural Moment

Photography of architecture has always been a passion of mine, though I have not worked with the subject much in recent years. I have completed much of what I envisioned doing with the Halifax Defense Complex, and since 2000, I have not been able to continue my work with the New England forts.
Digital infrared original
With both those projects either complete or on hold, there has been little to focus my architectural images on, so architecture has played a relatively small role in my work over the past six years. Occasionally, I come across spaces that catch my attention, and call out to be photographed.
Digital infrared original
While waiting to meet a model, I was driving through central Halifax, and came across a new building on the Dalhousie University Campus. One side effect of not having lived in Halifax for three years is that many of the new constructions really pop out to my eyes; in this case, the main entry way to the new building was overshadowed by a high overhang with several circular windows.
Digital infrared original

In truth, I spent less than ten minutes photographing the building, but the results are really pleasing; the infrared camera worked perfectly, setting the building against a dark, dramatic sky, and focusing the images on the harsh sunlight interplaying with the bright metal columns and the round glass windows.

May 13, 2006

Christine Models in a Ruin

Christine's second figure session was very different from her first; for one, we were working in a more "civilized space", an old abandoned fort, as opposed to the middle of the woods, and second,, her mother accompanied us on the session to lay to rest her concerns about her daughter's interest in modeling.
Digital original, 11 frame stitch

The first difference, the location, lead to a totally different approach to working. When photographing the Nude in nature, I often take the inspiration for the pose from the setting, working with the model to reflect or compliment the location. With architectural nudes though, the space sets more of a tone than a pose, and it is the lighting more than the space that contributes to the image.

In turn, this puts more of an onus on the model and me to come up with poses that work with the light, as opposed to the physical locale.Fortunately, Christine has lots of experience working in a studio, which is very similar in its focus on the pose and lighting, as opposed to setting.
Digital infrared original
Christine's mother accompanying us for the session was less strange than it may seem at first. I frequently work with other parties present during a session (other models, friends, family), and while I have never had a model's parent come along expressly for the reason of vetting the process, it was certainly a nonissue, as both Christine and I were certain she would leave with a positive response to the process.
Digital infrared original, 24 frame stitch

The session turned out pretty much as I'd expected. Christine and I managed to make a number of very strong images revolved around the light within the concrete building, including several in colour that really caught my attention. Christine's mother was quite helpful on several levels, holding her shoes and robe as we worked, and even contributing a suggestion for one of the most successful composition of the session.