finding the moment

Elizabeth - Ithaca Gorge
Elizabeth - Gorges #1, Ithaca, NY

there’s no doubt that Elizabeth is a wonderful model.  she’s easy to travel with, has an incredible sense of humor, and when she’s modeling for me is positively luminescent!  however, one of the key elements to making true art is that you have to put yourself into a space where the defining moments will present themselves.  and you can do your best to be prepared, know your gear, and do everything in your ability to be prepared for it, but ultimately you have to see it and react quickly.  when i think about it, it reminds me of a quote from an old master:

Success in photography, portraiture especially, is dependent on being able to grasp those supreme instants which pass with the ticking of a clock, never to be duplicated.  So light, balance, expression must be seen – felt as it were – in a flash, the mechanics and technique being so perfected in one as to be absolutely automatic. — Edward Weston, Carmel California, March 1922

as i mature as a photographer, i’ve come to realize that certain things become ingrained in your thinking as a photographer.  as you become more familiar with your tools, you learn to see more deeply into your work as you are attempting to capture a photograph.  your brain learns to recognize things it has seen before and translate that into exposure, digital capture, and the myriad of convolutions those pixels will go through when passing through photoshop.  you know what it will look like in the end mostly because you’ve done it before, but also because you know how the tools you’ve got will react to the decisions you’ve made.

that’s what i really love about this photograph.  it was one of those moments.  i’d been to ithaca years ago and love the idea of photographing in the gorges.  and with my recent explorations into figure photography, i wanted to try again with a nude.  i knew these places were magical and when i turned around and saw this mist floating above the water and the look of the trees through this mist, i knew that this was what i’d come here for.  elizabeth was brilliant with her poses and together we created something that approaches the best of what i’ve shot all summer. 

prints from this series of shots are available by browsing through the Summer 2008 Gallery at my web site directly at Elizabeth – Gorges #1, Ithaca, NY.

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