Very Present

I've been watching Loz's work for some time now and she's been watching mine - we had a laugh about this apparent stalking behaviour; Sydney, even Australia, is a small scene as far as freelance models and photographers go.

I looked more carefully at Loz's portfolio and read her words to get a handle on what her likes/dislikes are and also what her strengths are. The main thing I noticed was that she loves to move, and is comfortable showing emotion. This is perfect for what I do - the emotive part, but also because I've been experimenting more with shooting movement in stills and also some video.

Recently I've been getting bored with the same old "art nude" style. A lot of work in this genre is quite impersonal - there's nothing much about the person in the image, not much emotion, not much PRESENCE and not much humanity in fact (my view only of course). And really, these things have always been the things I've held as most important in terms of my own photographic work. I guess I'm just slowly returning home and recognising that.

So rather than shoot at home, which is limiting in terms of movement, I thought we'd go back to a favourite old abandoned haunt of mine (haunt being the operative word). This place has heaps of different rooms with varied lighting.

I picked Loz up after her life drawing modelling gig finished and we drove further up the hill to the haunt. The place does have a spooky vibe and I always worry that the models I've taken there will get spooked.

1st Movement

We started off with a static shot I'd wanted to get for some time in one particular room with a certain type of light - and a wash basin on one wall - a kind of quirky offset feel and composition. I had brought along the iPad for music so Loz had something to move to. We got the shot I was after pretty quickly and moved on to the second set of images.

2nd Movement

The second set I had absolutely zero plan for. All I knew was that I wanted to include some movement and importantly I wanted Loz to feel free and comfortable, free to express herself in ways that suited her. I simply found a white(ish) wall in one of the rooms and we started working. I love the results and you can see a summary of them in this little video I posted in the last blog entry over here.

3rd Movement

These ones were static shots, but fairly obvious an easy to do. Then came the video. I set up a D600 on a tripod at right angles to a tiled wall and Loz did her thing for a few short clips. I had a piece of cardboard I was using to fan Loz's hair - you can see it's gyrating shadow in the video (so professional). I also brought along a sheer black shirt, my fave piece of wardrobe and after the first sequence on the tripod, moved around a bit with the camera.

We're both happy with the results of this video experiment but also realise this can go a lot further, be done a lot better and can go in numerous directions.

Final Movement

We wandered around the corridors of the place looking for something, not sure what, something. I investigated an old bathroom but the smell of the place was all consuming, not good. We ended up in the 'orange room'. I've shot in here before and have always emphasised the sickly 'orangeness', which really glows in the afternoon light. This time was different, I wanted to shoot black and white and really all I needed was a window with somewhere on the floor beneath the window for Loz to pose.

This last set was totally freeform. I asked Loz to just do whatever she wanted - all I did was make sure she stayed within a certain area of light whilst I moved continuously around her finding the best angles and shooting as she moved. It's challenging shooting this way but I love it. There are no rules, only movement and quick thinking - the camera needs to be an extension of the body, any thought directed towards technical stuff will distract enough so as to render the images pretty useless. I think during this set, Loz felt at home with the freestyle flow and unimpeded expression, there was no look required and no brief other than to move and to emote. This is what she does so well. The final images from this set are magical.