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June, 2002

Somehow, a local photographer, Matt Schneider, and I connected and met over dinner.  Matt has been very generous to me, and one such act of generosity was to introduce me to Angela, one of his favorite models.  Matt continues to be helpful by recommending additional models & sites for outdoor photography.  We hope to share a model & hit the great outdoors sometime soon.  Stay tuned. 

Angela & I exchanged a few e-mails and seemed to get along great.  We soon set something up -- she came over for  an afternoon sitting, and I planned to use natural light within my house.  We were both a little rusty -- she hadn't modeled for three months, and I hadn't made any pictures for six.  Also, I like to get to know a model before trying more adventurous photography, so we planned some simple concepts.  Basically, the first sitting with a model has a primary objective of "getting acquainted",  So, mostly, we planned for some nude portraits and for some additional ideas.     
Angela by the back stairs, June, 2002

The Back Stairs

I like the mid-day light on the back stairs.  It is an unusual space, white walls & ceiling, open to both stories; it has two skylights above, two windows facing north, and one window facing west.  On most days, if it is bright enough outside, there is nice soft light in this space.  


Angela by the Media Room Curtain -- June, 2002

Media Room Curtain

I have a home theater which is separated from the dining room by a heavy velvet curtain.  We used this curtain as a backdrop for a few exposures, including some experimentation with first aid gauze, as you can see here.


Angela, Living Room Intimate Portraits -- June, 2002

Living Room Intimate Portraits

We settled into the living room, in the big chair & a half near the three large windows in a slight bay configuration that face west.  By this time, we were very comfortable with each other, the light was great, and good stuff happened.  I must have liked this set up, because most of the afternoon's exposures were made right here. 


Angela Window Light -- June, 2002

Window Light

I had one last set up I wanted to try -- a little niche in the living room, but as I got up to set things up, I noticed some hard sunlight coming in from a single south facing window in a little corner of the living room.  I asked Angela to stand in that pool of light, and I immediately forgot about that last set up.


Assessment:  I had a great fun time working with Angela.  There was good contact for the portrait style pictures, and I really liked her looks & figure.  Although she was a little shy (and yes, nude models can be very shy!), she worked hard to get the pictures right.  She has the exact kind of figure I like working with -- natural, unstained (i.e. no tattoos), and expressive.  She was surprised that I liked the definition of her rib cage.  Bottom line:  I would love to work with Angela again.

I knew she was thinking about a move to Hawaii -- it was one of the many things we discussed while making pictures, and sure enough, a week after this sitting, she moved.  Ah, well -- I would love to work with Angela again & again & ...   So, now I'm thinking -- I like to use the first sitting with a model for getting acquainted.  After all, the model's look & style & interaction with me contribute to the specific inspiration for photographs.  So, here's the quandary:  I can try some more specific ideas with a model during our first sitting, or I can continue using the first sitting for getting acquainted.  I'm not sure at this point which I should do.  I am very appreciative & respectful of models -- I understand how difficult it is to take off your clothes just minutes after meeting someone, and my success is attributable to my treating models as people first and helping create a relaxed atmosphere.  But if I take a model & assume she can fit into a specific concept, perhaps I'm not looking at or listening to that person.  I'm reminded of a workshop I took, where the instructor boasted that a reclining model fell asleep while he was adjusting a view camera.  He took it as a compliment that the model was comfortable enough to fall asleep.  And I couldn't help thinking that this guy might as well have been photographing a bowl of fruit, since he was doing nothing to keep the interest of the other person in the room.  Anyway, I'm sure there is a middle ground.  Stay tuned.

(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated)