M__ worked with other photographers in different parts of the city, but before she arrived she had set aside Monday of this week as a day to work with me. As Monday was a rainy and chilly day here in New York, we had no choice but to work in my makeshift home studio – and I readily admit that I’m still very much a novice when it comes to studio work. Still, it is something different from working outdoors and possesses different challenges.
Among the things that M__ had brought with her was an object that she had bought on a recent trip to Egypt: a reddish scarf decorated with silvery ornaments (for lack of a better term in my vocabulary). As this seemed like an interesting type of prop that I had never used before, I decided to spend most of my time photographing M__using it – first with a light gray background and then with a black background. I thought that the Middle Eastern item would go well with M__’s somewhat exotic look.
As my readers here should know, I use film exclusively for my serious work. However, I do like to make some color photos with my pocket digital camera to get some quick feedback as well as to post work here from new photo sessions. You can see some of these color images of Maria here now, but don’t hold your breath when it comes to seeing the film. (Including the seven rolls of M__, I now have 52 rolls of film to develop – plus 25 from Tibet to file!)
One of the things I need to get over when doing studio work is the typical ‘model standing in front of the camera’ kind of shot. There are some horizontally oriented studio images here, and it was M__’s idea to try them. We managed to get her stretched out on the black backdrop by putting together a couple of chairs beneath it (basically, covering the chairs with the backdrop.)
Another thing I tried for the first time was mounting one of the lights on the boom arm that’s part of my lighting kit. I’d used the boom once before for suspending some fabric, but this was the first time that I used it to have the light facing downward from above the model. You can see one of these photos (without the Egyptian scarf) here, too. I think this set-up has the potential for dramatic imagery.
As for M__’s sightseeing, I took her to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Heights promenade. We later walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, where we visited the World Trade Center site, waited for two mintutes on line at the Empire State Building (before finding out that the wait to go to the observation tower was too long), walked through Times Square and Rockefeller Center, the lobby of the famed Waldork-Astoria hotel and then the great expanse of Grand Central Station. We also visited Central Park another day (where M__ noted at least one good spot for a nude photo) and had dinner Monday night at a kosher deli on Kings Highway here in Brooklyn – to try to give her a fuller New York City experience. That’s her in a photo with the triple decker sandwich she ordered.
Like I said, she’s in California now, continuing her US tour. If you’re a photographer in an area that she’ll be passing through, I highly recommend working with her. She’s a great model and a lot of fun to work with.
As for me, having M__ here as my guest for six nights, I am going to miss her. Even though I had worked with her last summer, I had still thought of her mostly as a friend of my friend Alex Ingram in Scotland. I think I can safely say that she’s now my own friend, too. I hope she returns to New York sometime soon.