Hello Kitty

Montreal is a city that lies about 380 miles north of New York City. It’s a pretty straight drive up there, and in the summer I imagine that it would be rather nice. Doing it in the winter, though, can be an absolute frozen hell. I know, because I’ve done it – and all in the name of art!

It all pretty much started when I met a girl named Kitty at a science fiction/horror movie convention in New Jersey. My friend Joe had made some casual photos of her and when he showed them to me, I thought she looked rather nice and had an interest in photographing her myself. He said he’d try to introduce me to her at the next opportunity, and he did.

Knowing this, I brought with a set of 8×10 inch black & white RC prints of some of my nudes to show her. Kitty went through them, and………well, when someone says she’d kill herself if you didn’t photograph her, you can assume that she likes your photos! (I’d like to think that the killing herself part was just an exxageration.) It turned out that she was an artist, too, so I thought “why not?” and made plans to head up north to Montreal, where she lives.

I met Kitty in the fall of 2003 and so made plans to head up there a few months later, in February. I’d gone through Frommer’s guide to Montreal and found a nice hotel in the old section of the city. As I had done the year before down in New Orleans, I was going to photograph Kitty in my hotel room, and this hotel was in an 18th Century building with nicely furnished rooms. The rates were also lower in the winter, so despite any concerns about things like snow, February it was.

That thinking came back to haunt me when the weather on my day of my driving up turned out to be an ice and snowstorm! You know that things aren’t going well when you find your car covered by a sheet of ice (as mine was). I cracked the ice off and then methodically headed off on my way. Some of the things I remember were driving 40 miles per hour in the 65 mph zone and having to stop to crack off the ice that had totally encrusted my windshield wipers. Not only that, the driver’s side wiper must have been warped, as it wasn’t properly wiping off the window, resulting in a large area of ice and snow building up directly in my line of view and blocking what I could see!

On the other hand, the sight of the mountains of upstate New York covered by snow and ice was magnificent. I can still imagine the huge tongues of ice that were hanging down off of the mountainsides. I wish I could have stopped to photograph them, but I was just intent on making it to Montreal in one piece.

I did make it there safely after about ten and a half hours, but when I got to my hotel after all that time, I couldn’t get the car into the parking lot because the wheels kept spinning in the snow! (The lot attendant managed to do the trick, thankfully.)

After that, however, the trip went great. I photographed Kitty the next day and got some good images out of it. The photo at the top shows her sitting on the bed next to a lamp with the beautiful exposed bricks of the wall in the background. Kitty was also brave enough to allow me to open the windows as she sat just in front of tbem (photo 2 – the white stuff outside is snow) and I worked with a mirror, too (photo 3).

I did go to Montreal for a few other reasons. One was to visit a photographer friend of mine, Dan Cardish, who I’d known on-line but had never met before. I had dinner with him twice that weekend, which was nice. I also worked with another model, Isabelle, in the hotel room (photos 4 and 5). Having photographed Kitty there the day before, I tried to avoid duplicating those same images. This limited what I could do to some extent, but I think I still was able to make a few good ones. One of the props I used was an illustrated French translation of Goethe’s “Faust” that I found in the room.

This trip was also the culmintation of the series of model sessions that just had me burnt out for a while on photographing nudes. I’ll write about photographing the city of Montreal next time.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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