July 14, 1999

Victoria, the Alberta Portfolio XII (Mountain View, Alberta)

4"x5" film
Annie's house was spacious and bright, with large windows in all the right places (for photography at least), and Victoria and I started with her simply sitting in a   covered white chair. Moving from working outdoors, where I am directing the model into poses I see with my mind's eye, into a situation where I am simply reacting to what is before me, was a nice change; I by far prefer the former, but exploring a static pose it is a very different process, being almost a technical exercise. That said, I was very pleased with the result, above, which very strongly reflects my intent at the moment of creation. The strong flow of Victoria's hip creates a very rich motion in the image, which keeps the eye dancing within its borders.
4"x5" film
After we finished with images in the chair, Victoria and I revisited the skulls hanging on Annie's walls. Working on top of the dining room table, which is almost totally surrounded by windows, we made half-a-dozen photos with each skull, working again in a studio-like environment, in order to best focus the images on the interplay between the body and skulls. For the most part, I just had Victoria hold the skulls in manners which used them as mirrors or counterfoils to the body; as with the outdoor skull photos, these images focus just on the body and bone, with no reference to the landscape or setting of Alberta.
4"x5" film
The results of the afternoon were very pleasing (though I didn't know how pleasing at the time, as none of the film from Alberta was processed until  my return to Halifax), and present a few possibilities I have never considered before. I seldom use any props when I work with the Nude in the studio (some vague ideas of nudes and roses in an early session or two were quickly abandoned), but the power and effectiveness of the skull nudes has me reconsidering this approach, and pondering the possibilities.

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