The tune for this edit was ‘Let Go’ (https://youtu.be/dlpM9ScJLMI) by The Bones of JR Jones from the album The Wildness.
“Well it seems
The devil got the best of me,
Not much is left
Broken hearted melody
And the hole,
Set deep in your eyes;
Tells me that I
Want this to survive
Well I, ain't half what I should be
Half what I made me
Lord forgive me
And I know
Oh you think I'm just cruel
Darling believe me
It's killing me too
I know you're so alone
Untie yourself from me
Oh I'm sinking like a stone
This is my definition of being truly nude in front of the camera. When someone reveals themselves in the way Sass-Kia has done here, it’s a very raw and revealing thing. It’s easy to be physically nude for someone with a camera. And all art models do this of course. Most are with-holding something of themselves though, even though you may think no one could reveal anything more if they’re totally naked.
When I work with people like Sass, with shots like this, the trust they give to me is something I hold very precious. They trust that I will find and portray something of them that they like and identify with. They are revealing themselves much more than if they were standing there naked, posing or whatever. I have so much gratitude for Sass, and models like her, who let me into their private space like this because if they didn’t, I’d have no purpose with a camera. This is the heart and soul of what I do.
These images haven’t been edited much at all. You can see the images with no edit at all in the contact sheet and the single images have been cropped out of that sheet and edited a bit. Mainly just contrast and few other small things.
I shot these with my default camera, the Pentax 67 and the old fave Kodak Tri-X. The film was processed in the kitchen sink in Ilford ID-11, the only developer I ever use, at a dilution of 1:1. I used a +1 converter to be able to get in real close for tight crops on Sass’s face. At this magnification, DOF is very shallow, especially when shooting wide open at f2.8. Maybe it’s something like a centimetre or something, meaning focus has to be accurate - not that I mind of bit of blur for atmosphere, but not on every shot. So for Sass, this meant having a large camera about 40 - 50cm from her face. She was lying on the rock platform, propped on elbows, as was I, to allow for the close angles. This is very confronting for most models.
The light was super flat and dull. Perfect. Just enough brightness to create a small amount of hazy flare with Sass-kia at the right angle to the light. The Pentax 105mm lens gives a very soft flare which is harder to control than modern digital lenses. I know this lens well now though and could feel the flare seen in frame #4 - the wide open aperture makes that flare even softer and more diffuse.
Not all models can do this thing where they give this much of themselves for the sake of a photograph. Sass-kia is one of a select few who can. Most of the models I work regularly with, which isn’t many at all, exhibit this trust. Trust doesn’t happen after one shoot, most I’ve worked with and continue to work with many times allowing images like this to happen. I can’t imagine they could happen any other way.
I hope you like these images, and find something in them.
The Contact Sheet - Roll 3 of 4
This roll had 9 frames, the 10th ended up light damaged. The shots were done quite quickly, maybe 10 minutes or so for the roll. They were shot as part of a one on one portrait workshop I was running.
Will feature Francesca Grisenti from a fashion shoot last week in Sydney.