The Nude - Friends
Most of the models in this collection knew each other before working together, but a few did not; in either case, the images here draw their strength as much from the interplay of bodies as they do from the setting or ambiance.
There is a very different rhythm to a session two or more models; usually a session from from composition to composition, setting to setting with a steady pace, but with multiple models present, there can be a sudden change to the pattern, when a composition calls for a second (or more) model. Just as a familiar landscape will provoke different responses from different models, models respond to each other and this builds a complex dynamic that would be absent in an image with a single model. It is this interplay I strive to record.
Other images of friends modeling together can be found in the Memory of Water, Evolving Beauty: New Brunswick and Evolving Beauty exhibitions.
In some ways I am quite surprised this image works as well as it does; it took quite some time to compose it and pose the three models, Bobbi, Ingrid and Miranda, so each was flowing out from the other. The near endless shoreline of the Bay of Fundy, and the muted contrast of the day only helps build the overall feeling of the image. 8x10 film
When working with three models, the easiest way to approach it is as bodyscapes - the close composition, combined with a longer lens (in this case, the equivalent of an 80mm lens on a digital SLR) keep the image to a composition of repeating lines. The placement of the models with G_in front, Miranda in the centre and Ingrid in the back was totally arbitrary but worked well, creating a beautiful sense of flow and line. Digital infrared
This is my favorite portrait from Scotland, made all the stronger for being of two of my closest friends Ingrid and Miranda; the light was perfect, coming in through the overgrown doorway of the bothy. In colour, this would have been overwhelmingly green, but with the infrared camera, all the light reflected from the foliage flooded into the bothy, bathing the models with lovely light. Digital infrared, 7 frame stitch
The first version of this image looked great but even through the ground-glass of the camera, I realized there were problems. It was only when I asked Elisabeth and Layla to lie with their arms stretched up did I realize the problem was with the linear quality that their arms by their sides created. Once they reach up and stretched their arms out, the circle in the centre of the image was created and everything else came together. 8x10 film
I gradually worked towards this image, with first Erica, then Erica and Venus in the window. Only at the very end did I experiment with Kyla in the mix; the result was surprisingly fast to come together, with Venus (in the centre) holding it all together. Digital infrared
There are times that images of friends look more like those of couples, but this is more a reflection of the comfort between them than anything else. Digital infrared
This photo is a direct evolution of an earlier image of Victoria, though the addition of the second model (Layla) curled on the bottom, and Krista stretched out on the top) makes it a much more complex image. 4x5 film
The simple grace of these two models comes through so wonderfully in this image. A grabbed moment during a two-day visit of Selina to Halifax, the image was actually a pause between more posed images. My eye was caught by Judith’s hair hanging down, and the rich repetition of the women’s limbs. 6x7 cm film
I would happily trade a fully equipped studio for a large window on an overcast day! Digital
When working with three models, the easiest and simplest approach is to work with the repetition and interplay of lines. This image relies as much on the careful position of the camera as it does on the pose of the models; had the camera been a little higher or lower, the carefully composed image would have been very different, with the lines of Bobbi’s hip (in the middle) either concealing the model behind, or dropping so low that her hip wouldn’t intersect with the small of the back 8x10 film
Usually direct light is hard to work with, but later in the day, when the sun is lower in the sky, the frustrations of direct light - harsh, direct shadows, become a reason to photograph. Here, the added bonus of Ingrid and Miranda’s reflections upon the sand make the image all the more lovely. Digital, 4 frame stitch
Made in the same pool as the Birth of Aphrodite, this image was composed minutes later; Miles was enthusiastic to try a pose with Trish, and I directed them into something that was mythic in quality, looking perhaps like to fallen angles, descending below the surface of the water, or two new gods, rising above it. 4x5 film
I don’t think I have a better portrait of these two fabulous women, though I have worked with Ingrid and Miranda for more than fourteen years, combined. The irony of course is that as soon as I stepped outside, to begin working, I began cursing the direct sunlight - the very thing that makes this image work! Digital
Victoria and Carol came up with this pose as the central image for a digital piece I conceived of while working in the space. Once I made the 8"x10” image for the digital image, I moved around them as they held the pose, and came up with this image; in reality, it is more striking then the more static first image, and while I am pleased with the digital image, it is this one that I feel is the more successful record of the pose’s energy. 6x7 cm film
Made in late fall in New Brunswick, I love the combination of the two models and the fallen foliage around them. Digital infrared
When I finished processing this image, I was a little crestfallen, as it was under-exposed (the side-effect of using a hundred year old lens with an unreliable shutter). That being said, after some extra darkroom work (toning the negative heavily with selenium) it was saved and led to quite a pleasing image. The height differential between Ingrid and Michelle, the front model is not an illusion but a reality, with Ingrid more then a head taller than the petite red-headed model. 8x10 film