The Nude - Portraits
There's a undeniable power to a portrait that is made even stronger by merging of it with nudity. Clothed portraits can be evocative and perhaps tell you more about a person's image and status in life but nothing comes as close to being "about" a person as a nude portrait. The simple fact that you are looking at a nude photo creates a charged situation for some but in these images, where they are about a person rather than a body, there is something far more.
The amazing quality of nude portraits is that they are little different from conventional portraits - it is the face and the eyes which hold the attention; the nudity of the individual simply informs the reading of the image. The expected vulnerability in a nude portrait often is supplanted by an inherent confidence that is hard to deny - standing nude and looking into a camera is not something for the faint of heart.
Today I finally thought the weather was warm enough for an outdoor session, so I headed with Ryan and Jessica to the coast…where it was cool, then foggy, then cold. You can never win. This was the second last post of the session - I’d hoped for Jessica to stand on the rock, surrounded by the soft water and seaweed, but all she could do was huddle against the cold…still, it made for a beautiful, delicate portrait. Digital infrared
With almost every model I have worked with, at one point or another, a moment happens, and I ask them to “Don’t move". With this image, Ingrid held the pose while I walked across the river to the shore, changed my lenses and returned to make the image. The simplicity of it appeals to me, as does the isolation of her head against the dark water. Using a 12” lens (100mm on a 35mm camera) threw the background out-of-focus while still including Ingrid's full figure in the composition. 4"x5" film
This portrait of Victoria is one of my favourite. Though her nudity is obvious, it is the wonderful delicacy of the light, and the rich detail on her face which pulls me in, with the intimacy implied by the nudity only making the image. 35mm film
Sometimes to best portraits are unplanned - in this case, we’d just finished a water session and Tanya and the other models (Ingrid and Jesse), and were walking out of the woods when I looked back and caught sight of Tanya, with the sun behind her - I asked her to stay still for a moment, and then made this portrait. Digital infrared
One of the last images of the session, this uses the wonderful sharpness and contrast of digital infrared to make a wonderful portrait of a stunning young woman. Digital infrared, 2 image stitch
As soon as I saw this white couch, I knew it would be perfect for a reclining portrait. Cassandra and I spent about an hour; because of the low light in the room, the images I made used a shutter speed of four seconds; fortunately all I was asking of her was to lie still; if there had been anything more dynamic involved, I doubt that such a long exposure would have been possible. 8"x10" film
My first session for a New Year! Christine and I worked together this afternoon, working indoors with available light. I used a borrowed camera (Canon XTi) as my Nikon was in the shop for repair, and was quite impressed with the camera, though a faulty card (I think, hope, pray, as a faulty camera would be a more serious issue) cost me 6 images out of 750…fortunately, I saw the issue, and re-made most (5 of the 6).
This entire image revolves around the beautiful curve of Elissa’s hair, which frames her face perfectly. For an image from a model’s first session, it has a very strong sense of comfort and poise, which bodes well for future images, yet to be made! Digital infrared, two image stitch
Elena and I saved the water poses until the end of the session, but we still made some beautiful images, including a series of portraits of her half-emerging from the tidal pool. Digital infrared
The sweeping curve of Megan’s arms, the wild flow of her hair and the soft, even light all contribute to making this one of my favourite outdoor portraits. I used a relatively wide aperture to throw the background out of focus, and framed her slightly off-centre, creating a tension to the image which would not have been present if it had been framed with the figure dead-centre. 4"x5" film
There is something wonderfully simple to asking the model to sit and look into the camera. 6x6 cm
This was made during Marieke's first time working with me (and first time modeling Nude); there is a simple directness to her gaze that make this a really pleasing portrait. 4"x5" Polaroid (Type 55)
This image was made after Lisa and I’d already worked outdoors - it was early April, and while it was mild, it was far from warm. As a result, I found Lisa, still nude, but all curled up in comforters on a bed. As with the earlier outdoor work, Lisa’s personality dominated the images we made indoors; her direct response to the camera producing strong portraits, successful over and above the bodyscapes we also produced. 4"x5" film
Working with an 8"x10" camera is a slow and involved process, but by this session Deborah had posed for dozens of compositions with the camera, and knew the process. The window light from the camera right was just beautiful, and with a shadow-based exposure, and contracted processing, I was able to keep the image from becoming too harshly shadowed. 8"x10" camera
I made this portrait during a shore-side session in New Brunswick; Krista was waiting for me to pack up so we could move to the next space, when I glanced over and saw how wonderful the light on her was. And so the portrait was made. Digital infrared
This was one of my earliest images made with simply a window as a light-source. It would become my primary way of working indoors eventually, but at this stage in my development, it seemed a compromise required as studio lighting wasn’t available. 4"x5" film