All my portraits until now have been in black and white film and darkroom work. The only color work I’ve done has been my present In-Camera Project digital work and except for cropping, it’s not manipulated. These prints are 5″ wide and printed on 8.5″ by 11″ paper. The white space and the relationship of the image to it are an important part of the aesthetic of the work. That’s why I haven’t put up In-Camera work since I understood this about the photos. I’m not sure about showing them on the blog without the larger space around them, and the blog format does not permit this without making them postage stamp size. So I’m still thinking about it.
I rarely do commission portraits. I need the same kind of absolute artistic freedom that I have for my projects. (It is a collaboration with the model but not one that involves the art.) Once in a great while someone wants to commission a portrait who is truly comfortable with this.
Piglet Evans approached me about doing her portrait last January. I explained my standards for accepting portrait commissions and told her that I was no longer doing black and white work. It was clear from our conversation that she was someone I could successfully collaborate with on a portrait. I had been wondering what it would be like to do a nude in the In-Camera style. I told her that I would be interested, if it was in the format of the new work and she immediately said yes.
We did a long shoot in May. The similarities and differences between color and black and white composition work were fascinating. The collaboration with the model was, not surprisingly, unchanged.
I recently finished and sent her this pair of portraits. I like to think about work for a while after I shoot. And since this is early in the project I was still working on paper choice. I had originally assumed this would be one picture, but like some of the Women En Large images she was clearly more than a one-image portrait.
I knew that unlike the In-Camera work, the portraits would need Photoshop work, simply to capture the original moment. My friend Ctein, who is superb at this, worked with me.
These are my first color nude portraits. The first one is smaller here then the original because of the size constraints of the blog, the second is full size. They will be matted together in the same frame. I think they worked out beautifully.