You know how some women covet shoes…

Many, MANY moons ago when I started in photography, I was shooting Velvia slide film.  I was just learning and it was great.  Then the whole digital thing kicked in and I thought that that was cool so I went digital.  A few years after that, I had the opportunity to take a course on how to use a large format camera.

I fell in love.

By the end of the class, I actually owned a 4×5 Toyo view camera.  What I loved about it was that it slowed everything down.  I actually had to know how Sunny-16 worked.  I actually had to learn how to use a light meter.  And because of the price of materials, I actually had to really want to snap that shutter.

Today, I own three 4×5 cameras.

Then yesterday, after a 7-month journey of looking for parts, my Grandfather’s Leica SL finally came back home; fixed, cleaned, and meter calibrated.  I have some old 35mm film in my fridge that I will run thru the camera this weekend to make sure all’s well (I am sure it is).



Step two: keep taking photographs

A few weeks ago when I started this project – I wasn’t sure what direction it was going to go.  My first shooting session I was fumbling around, trying to figure out how the wireless remote worked, and trying to work out how to get what was in my head into my camera.

My second attempt was much better.  I had figured out my lighting and mastered the remote.  The third attempt started out great until I remembered a comment I actually made about a friend of mine shooting a time lapse  movie on their camera.  I had this feature on my camera.  I set it up and went about shooting a great number of images in a short period of time.

I knew, as long as I stayed within a certain distance from the camera after I focused,  I could simply move myself within the frame and get the images I wanted.  I became much more comfortable moving and not having to fumble around with the remote for every shot.  If you have this option on your camera – use it!  It’s a lot of fun

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All Images copyright 2012 Amanda Dussault

Step One; start taking photographs

© 2012 Amanda Dussault All Rights Reserved

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step….nothing, in my mind, is harder than that first step.  I can mull an idea over and over in my mind for weeks or months without doing anything before the idea fizzles out.

This project seemed different.

This project, I talked to people about.  People who helped me overcome my perceived problem of having no lighting equipment.  People who helped me with ideas of where to get props.  People who volunteered to be models!

I started shooting this project last weekend with my model wearing black.  This weekend she wore white.  A red leather chair may make an appearance.   I think I will succeed in this project because I am shooting and still excited about it.

Simple, elegant, and sensual

“Both are simple, elegant, and sensual”.   A great friend of mine said this about two photographers I have been spending a lot of time with – and by ‘spending time with’ I mean looking at their photos, reading transcripts of interviews, going thru books, etc.    It’s interesting, as I research these two photographers, I am finding a number of instances where both of them are mentioned in the same article or posting.

Ralph Gibson

I was recently ‘introduced’ to Mr. Gibson thru Jeff Curto’s History of Photography podcasts.  Seeing his images made me so happy.  I am especially intrigued by his Infanta series (This links to images containing nudity.  Don’t click if you don’t like this sort of thing).  Simple images that fill the frame and lovely use of light and shadow.

Lillian Bassman

I really don’t remember how I found this fabulous photographer – I do know it was 2005, but I am not sure what prompted me to look her up.  While I am generally not a fan of fashion photography, I am a big fan of her post processing.  The movement, the apparent use of natural light, and, well, OK, the fashion is pretty cool too.

So, my thinking is to take the beauty of each of these photographers and come up with my own style of photographing women.   I want to keep my images ‘simple, elegant, and sensual’ without nudity.   I don’t think this will fall into the category of boudoir-type images and if it goes that way I will immediately stop.  I want to use hats, gloves, stockings.  Maybe some really nice lingerie.  Sensual without crossing over to pornography – which, in my opinion, is a super-duper fine line.  And really, if they won’t pass the mom-test they will not see the light of day!

I am in the beginning stages of this – I need to figure out where to do this.  Do I need to get some lighting or can my ‘where’ have enough natural light.   Do I just use myself as a subject or try to convince my friends to trust me enough to make simple, elegant, and sensual images of them.

Series 3: The Windows

This series needs some work.    I have five – I need 16.    For the last few weeks I have been concentrating mostly on the first two sets.   I have the columns printed – it’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  I am  hoping to get the trees printed and bound this weekend.  Then it’s onto the windows.  Here are a few to give you some idea of the direction I am going…as before, comments welcome.

Series 2: The Columns

I am not quite sure how it started; me photographing column bases.  Visiting Italy probably has something to do with it.  Italy, with all its beautiful architecture and history, has lovely, lovely columns.  They are everywhere and I simply love them.

Chicago, Ottawa, Utica, Naperville; have fantastic columns – I am on the look out to photograph them all.  Below are the images I will use in the accordion book portion of my project.  I would love some input from you – what works, what doesn’t.  Do you like the order or should I switch it up?

I do have a number of alternate columns that I could use if any of these don’t quite fit.  I am looking forward to your feedback!

Series 1: The Trees

Trees are cool.  I could sit and watch the play of light and shadow within a tree all day long.

A lot of these images were taken while walking the dogs.  I live in an older neighborhood with tons of mature trees (not so nice in the fall…) so many of these are close to my home.  It’s a challenge to photograph anything with two Labradors looking for the next great smell…

If anyone has any comments I would welcome them.  This particular series I am planning on putting in one of the bound books.  Do any of these images not work?  Should I switch up the order?

Next post will be the columns planned for the accordion book.