Page Created May 15, 2005
Sitting date:  April 11, 2005

In late March, I hosted a party at my house for all the local photographers & models I could find, and on the day of the party, 50 people showed up.  We had a blast.  I figured that nothing but good would come from meeting all the local artists & models.

Several people enjoyed seeing my house -- it is unique.  It was originally built in 1890, and it was extensively remodeled by me in 2000.  You've seen glimpses of the house, but the images here don't do the house justice.  Several photographers asked whether they could bring models over here for a photographic session.  One such photographer was Jay Greenman, from his Grace And Beauty website.  The model he proposed to photograph was Betcee May, a traveling model.  I was aware of Betcee coming through town, but with the party, the sitting with Victoria, doing taxes, and such, I was getting concerned that I was overbooked.  But Jay proposed to pay Betcee for four hours, work with her for the first three, and leave her to me for the final hour.  I talked with Betcee & proposed adding an additional hour, so with a quick sitting at a bargain price (to me), how can I refuse?



Betcee was actually moving from Up North to her new home, and she was traveling through town with her dog, Francis, a Jack Russell terrier.  She's asked permission to bring Francis to the sitting, not wanting to leave him alone in some strange motel for the 5+ hours of her sittings.  I'm a dog person, so I agreed.  While Jay worked with Betcee, I got to play with Francis. 



It was very interesting to watch Jay work.  If you've looked at his website, you'll appreciate that his style & mine are radically different.  But I've got to admit that he utilized my house more than I do -- he was very organized.  He chose settings & photographed Betcee in them, where I tend to push all the furniture out of the living room & simply sculpt with light.  Well, I tried it a little, but I didn't do too well.  I'll have to think about this more.



Francis has two speeds:  asleep & frantic.  


Starting with the sitting with Kristin, and continuing with the sitting with Victoria, I started having trouble with my digital camera, specifically, it began to refuse to fire the strobes.  In its defense, the camera wasn't ever designed to work with strobes, and my workaround wasn't exactly supported.  In both these sittings, I eventually got the darn thing to work, but it was frustrating & distracting when it happened.

With Betcee, the digital camera finally gave up the ghost.  After making this image, it simply refused to fire the strobes ever again, no matter how much I tried.  Over the past year, I became dependent on the digital camera during my sittings.  It is handy for lots of reasons:

  • I can use it to check & fine tune the lighting.

  • I can show selected images to the model, asking her to adjust her pose.

  • It saves the considerable time & expense associated with the darkroom work.

  • It is a reasonable method for making color images.

So, here I am, with a beautiful model with the face of an angel, and I'm wasting time trying to get the digital camera to fire off the strobes.


Okay, my head is spinning, so I abandon the idea of placing Betcee in real home settings & I go back to my strength -- figure studies with nicely crafted light.

I make a couple of images using just the modeling lights, not the strobes, with the digital camera. 




The modeling lamps are not all that bright, so the digital camera (set on automatic) chose a long-ish shutter speed.  The resulting image is soft, ever so slightly blurred.  Here I'm using an up-light; something I started doing with the previous sitting with Victoria.

Although this image is a favorite, I decide to abandon the digital camera once & for all.  

I bring over the good old reliable film camera.



I can pretend that this interesting effect was intentional, but that would be inaccurate.  The truth of the matter is that I incorrectly set the exposure on the film camera, resulting in vastly overexposed negatives.  I guess my mind was spinning trying to figure out the digital camera problems.  There's not a lot I can do to save these images -- they are just too dense.  I try, and the resulting images are contrasty & moody, and with the sepia toning, they do look very remarkable.



Here's another favorite -- yeah, I meant to do that!

I like this image a lot.  I like Betcee's womanly curves, the silhouette effects, the way you can see the line of her back (i.e. it is not lost in the background), the little tangle of hair & the glimpse of a cheek.

Here we are, well into the presentation of images, and I haven't really talked about Betcee much.  Such was my distraction caused by the digital camera.

Betcee is gorgeous!  She has a lovely face with sultry eyes, and she is very versatile.  She worked equally well with Jay's glamour photography & my fine art stuff.  And as you can see, she has a wonderful figure.


Something that is very important to me is how a model moves.  Some models might be very attractive, but they might also just sit there, expecting you to talk them into the poses you want.  

But the best models, like Betcee, will get a sense of what you want to do, and will find ways to present themselves based on your direction.  The best models are always moving.  Thus, the shapes I choose (when I release the shutter) appear more natural than when a model tries to strike a pose.  Betcee has a breath-taking figure, and she moves with languid elegance.

I do like parts of this unintended effect -- look at her right hip & how it is separated tonally from the light background.  Look at her left hip & how there is a dark glow along its curve.  I am undecided whether I like the lack of detail in the black shadow along Betcee's left side & breast.  But overall, this is very pleasing to me.







Looking at these pictures, after the fact:  it's a shame to put a world class beautiful face in shadow.





Nowadays, most of my sittings last three hours.  Any more, and I get tired & start making silly pictures.  But in the old days (e.g. when I lived in California), my sitting used to be only two hours long.  So, this was a throw-back sitting for me.  I had specific ideas I wanted to try, and with only two hours, I couldn't afford to spend too long on any one idea.

So, after this image, we moved on to other ideas. 




So, you can see what Betcee looks like, but you don't get a sense of what kind of person she is.  I found her to be smart, down-to-earth, confident, hard-working, self-reliant, and very easy to get along with.  At the time, I didn't know that I had incorrectly set my film camera.  Although I am very disappointed about the failure of the digital camera, I am enjoying working with Betcee.

This sitting concludes with Page 2.


(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated) 

All images (c) 2005 Looknsee Photography

There are no Out Takes from this sitting.

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