This image draws me in every time I look at it. In my visual curiosity, shapes and forms and light and the interaction of these elements fascinate me. Yet somehow, this particular combination speaks deeper to my soul.
The bone image comes from a project in which I used “hot lights” to learn more about controlling light on a subject. A friend found a cow skeleton on the back of her farm, and I brought home several of those bones. Since I’m a retired Anatomy & Physiology professor, my interest in old bones comes naturally. We knew a little of the history of the cow and had met the living cow, so that knowledge added a dimension of connection to her bones for me. I loved the organic feel of the dirt left on the bones, so I did not clean them up. During the studio sessions, these bones became my friends; like old friends, I still have a few of them. Using “hot lights” instead of strobes also led me to a more personal connection to the images, more control and pre-visualization of the effects of slight changes in position or intensity of a light or reflector. Together, the bones and I experimented! This particular image is of a coxal bone, half of the pelvis, and I appreciate the interplay of the textures, shapes, and shadows.
Some months later, I did several figure-study sessions with a wonderful model in the studio using different lighting. She was a active part of the art, and the images we created together were a fusion of both of our creativities. As with the bones, I was fascinated by the shapes and lights on her body. But these images went beyond shapes and forms and light–the woman is living and dynamic and expressive from within. She gave the camera her body and soul and thus gifted me with the images on my film.
I’m not sure when I saw the fusion of these two images into one. Separately, they are nice images emphasizing light, shape, form, texture. Together, they make a statement that is not so easily forgotten.
As a little technical note, the bones were originally shot with a medium-format camera using black-and-white film; later the negatives were scanned into digital form. The lighting was with stationary incandescent lights, diffuser screens, and reflectors in a simple studio setting. As with the bones, I used film for the figure studies with a medium-format camera and later scanned the negatives. For lighting of the woman, I used a larger studio with multiple strobes. Further manipulation and compositing was done primarily with Adobe Photoshop.
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