Miranda, the New Brunswick Portfolio (2005)
Miranda, the New Brunswick Portfolio was created from a body of work made over six days in July 2005, working with a single model, Miranda, in the landscape of New Brunswick, where I moved to in 2003. Like the my two earlier provincial portfolios, Miranda, the New Brunswick Portfolio is drawn from a completely new body of work, produced over a specific period of time with a single model, this time in New Brunswick.
Miranda, the New Brunswick Portfolio is made up of ten 8"x10" archival Epson Ultrachome prints on Epson Premium Lustre paper, each presented in an 11"x14" acid-free mat and enclosed as a group within an archival portfolio box. The Portfolio is limited to an edition of 17, including one model and one artist copy.
Miranda, the New Brunswick Portfolio is also available in book form, featuring the ten images from the portfolio, and the full photo diaries of the project.
All through our session working with an abandoned farm house, I kept glancing at an old barn, almost totally sheathed in vines, and wondering what Miranda could do with the space. As the sun dropped lower in the sky, the stark contrast between the vines and the open, black doorway behind them served as the perfect backdrop for a classic pose, and the shadow on Miranda‘s hip just pulls it all together. The final photograph was assembled from eight original images.
When working on a portfolio I tend to focuson making images that speak really clear to me, as opposed to trying to break my own preconceptions about what I like. With this image, Miranda and I had already made a composition using this space, but I felt on some levels what we’d done was too obvious, so I asked Miranda to come up with another option. She shrugged, and pulled her legs up from the first pose…and I asked her to stop. The final image is assembled from six photographs.
I have always loved the look of weathered wood, and when Miranda and I saw this barn, we both knew we’d end up working with the worn exterior. I asked Miranda to work her way in amongst the hay on the side of the barn, and when she found a good enough place to stand, the pose began to come together. It was only when I asked her to put her head inside the opening, under the lintel, that everything fell into place for the final composition.
The making of this image was somewhat chaotic - I couldn’t actually see through the camera when it was at the right angle for what I’d envisioned. We tried several different approaches, including moving the car so I could stand on the passenger’s side, and try to see the composition that was. In the end, I held the camera over my head, and judging each composition afterward, to ensure I made the image I sought. The final image was stitched together from two original images.
Miranda and had driven north to the Miramirchi on our second last day of working on the New Brunswick Portfolio in hopes of making some images on one of New Brunswick’s largest rivers. The best images of the session came from our exploration of some abandoned bridge piers - they were too far out into the river to work with directly, so we simply used them as the backdrop, using a wide-angle lens to open up the perspective, and keep Miranda’s figure prominent in the composition.
Though there is no telling in advance what images will make up the final collection of ten, I’ve always ensured that each portfolio included at least one portrait - Victoria in an abandoned house, and Cassandra in the woods. For the portrait of Miranda, it ended up somewhat mirroring the image of Victoria, as a window nude. The window was somewhat of a foil, with the main light for the portrait coming from a large open doorway beside the camera, but the space as a whole was rich with potential.
All through working on the New Brunswick portfolio I was looking for spaces in which to make a water nude. The weather however conspired against us however, and it was only on the second-last day that we had a chance to work on the banks of the Miramirchi. The clouds and sky reflected in the water make this image particularly suited to a colour image, capturing the beauty of the ripples in the water.
This was the first image of Miranda to be selected for the New Brunswick Portfolio. W hen we’d arrived home from our second day of photographing, I took a quick look through the images we’d produced, and even though this photograph was made up of eighteen frames, I could tell I’d captured what I was looking for even before it was assembled, with the delicate light casting across Miranda’s torso and legs.
I have always been fascinated by windows, photographically. While Miranda and I were working inside this house, I kept having to go outside to change equipment, and I repeatedly glanced through one window at another. I asked Miranda if she could stand inside, and look out the front of the house - with her in place, the whole image came together. We did have to wait more than ten minutes for the right light, but in the end, the quiet beauty of the image was well worth our patience.
This image was from the only truly sunny day of the New Brunswick portfolio - Miranda and I had driven north in hopes of good weather and found it, in abundance. We spent several hours working on this beach, all the while struggling to control the contrast from the harsh, direct sunlight. Ultimately, it was the images that focused on the harsh light, rather than tried to work around it, that were the most successful.