Category: Studio

Crossing Over

This image from a park in Zagreb, Croatia seems appropriate for my first post of 2020. One set of steps seems like the old year, the other the new year.

Voigtlander Bessa T, Ilford HP5+ film

A Lighting Lesson

Here is another image from the workshop yesterday. I found this workshop great, as I learned  that this kind of lighting is not as hard as I thought: one one side, a beauty dish with honeycomb grid, on the other side, a strip light, also with a grid to control the path of the light. I will be exploring this technique more in the future!

I should also mention the model Kaitlin’s skill as a dancer: her poise and grace came through in every image. 🙂


Let Me Never Be Confounded

In the spirit of refusing to allow depression to be a stigma, this is going to be a fairly open post (and long).

 As I have alluded to on Facebook and twitter recently, I am in the midst of withdrawal symptoms from the anti-depressant drug Effexor. This drug was prescribed for me in what I now see to be a quite offhand manner by my former doctor a number of years ago. It was a mistake then, and it is a mistake now. At best, this drug is emotional Novocain; it creates a numbness which can allow one to function, in a distant and disconnected manner.
Withdrawal, even after tapering down the dosage, can be hellish. In addition to the physical symptoms of almost constant dizziness, the emotional side affects, are, well, let’s just say to I don’t have to go to Canada’s Wonderland to ride a roller coaster right now. What I have noticed though is that over the last couple of days when I am busy doing photography the emotional side effects of the withdrawal are kept in check. This afternoon I was at a photography workshop (shooting dance in a studio setting), and despite having had an extremely rough morning emotionally, with the camera in my hand, I felt OK, maybe even better than OK. The camera was a better therapy than any drug.


Also, this past Friday night I was part of the choir singing at a fundraiser concert at St. Thomas’s church, to support our choir tour in England this summer. While I no longer call myself religious in a conventional sense, in a similar sense, performing the music was transcendent, and I am thinking in particular of the final piece of the program, Herbert Howell’s Te Deum. Howell himself in many ways was a tragic figure, who faced many personal difficulties in his life, but the beauty and power of his music allowed him to rise above his pain. The last phrase of his Te Deum is “Let me never be confounded.” Partially a prayer, but in this setting of the words, joyous and triumphant. While I am singing, making photographs, writing, acting or any other creative endeavour, for that moment at least I am in a place where nothing else seems to matter.
Creativity is the most powerful weapon I have.
I refuse to let this current challenge beat me.
I will never be confounded.

Strength, Part 2

Today another image from the shoot with remarkable model Sarah D. What I like in this photograph is Sarah’s expression; so many images involving female nudity feature expressions that seem to say “I am plaything, I am possession, I am submissive to you.” None of those messages are present in Sarah’s expression: it is an expression of strength, of self-possession, of someone confident in herself and her body. The partial nudity is almost incidental; the facial expression is the key to this image.

Sarah film003

Sarah’s strength is also drawn from her supportive family. In contrast to many nude models who feel they must strive to keep their modelling a secret from family and friends, Sarah is able to be be open about her art; when the first pictures from the shoot were posted her mother posted a nice, supportive comment, and I found this quite touching. I have since learned that other members of her family have also seen the images and have been very complimentary to Sarah, and that brings a smile to my face.


Today’s image is NSFW, so all I can do is add a link

The model in today’s image is striking in her power and intensity. Although nude images often imply submissiveness and objectification, in this image the model makes it very clear that she is in the image on her own terms, and is definitely not submissive!

Story and Mystery

This has to be my favourite portrait I’ve taken so far this year, and it’s all because of her eyes and how they tell a story (“she is looking at something”) and yet preserve a mystery (“but what is she looking at?”). Kudos to model Emily for gifting me with such an expression!!

Catching the Expression

There Are Seven Lights

Today’s image is called “There are Seven Lights” and features model Arnicka holding 5 old, expended flash bulbs.

Unlike the modern electronic flash, these old flash bulbs could only be used once, and then were thrown out, viewed as discardable. Arnika herself has had a difficult life, and has gone through difficult situations in which she was likely regarded as discardable by those around her.

She has however landed on her feet, and is in the process of overcoming challenges and obstacles to make use of her talents. The lights in her eyes show that she is not discardable, and even the spent flash bulbs find a second life as props in the photograph.

There are indeed seven lights.

There are 7 Lights

Broken and Unbroken

Here is another image from the Broken series I have been doing. The idea was that even if the camera eye is broken, the human eye endures. The model Shreeti was perfect for this shot; even with an impassive expression,her gaze is very powerful.

Shreeti Broken017

Mamiyma M645, 80mm f2.8 lens, strobe through umbrella. Film: Fomapan 100, developed in Xtol 1:1 for 9 minutes

Story in the Eyes

Today’s image is another minimalist portrait, shot yesterday with model Kristen. She was a delight to work with, her face was capable of a great range of expressions, and her natural expression always seemed to involve a smile. Here, just with a glance to her left, I get the sense she is telling a story.

A Glance
Mamiya M645, 80mm f2.8 len @ f22, strobes with umbrella and softbox. Shot on Ilford Delta 400 film, developed in HC-100 Dilution H for 15 minutes.


Today’s image is from the Broken series. Model Jennifer was amazing both in doing a great make-up job, and coming up with powerful poses. What I like about this image is the strength of her eye: an unbroken, strong object, staring at the viewer through the shards of a broken object. It reminds the viewer that some things cannot be broken.

Broken Record


Taken with Mamiya M645 medium format camera, 80mm f2.8 lens on Fomapan 100 film, developed on Xtol 1:1