Melanie On A Leash

One particular reason for this micro-site's existence is to document my own thought process throughout the evolution of a longterm project from start to finish. An attempt to see what gets connected to what and where that ends up. A side effect of that is that a lot of the photographs I post I'm looking at for the first time when I decide to post a thought or two.


Thinking a bit more about a few of those thoughts from yesterday when I was importing images I made over the holiday weekend I realized much more was accomplished than I recognized.

I've mentioned in earlier posts that ultimately the main Black/White project will likely be wardrobe intensive. What I mean is that I intend to work with my collaborators on choosing very specific wardrobe for each context and location we use. The stuff I've used so far I consider place holders not anything like what's in my mind's eye — just stuff laying around the studio that fit(there's actually an "F" there but some bug in Merriweather causes lowercase "F" not to show up 99% of the time in some browswers, if something doesn't make sense it could be a typo OR maybe a lowercase "F" is there but you can't see it Hmmmm, I'll fix that some other day with a similar typeface). The photograph above is the first time I happened to have anything laying around that approaches what I ultimately have in mind that remotely fit who I was working with.

Melanie and I made this in the very last moments of fading twilight. Something we discussed to play with after we worked on what's now a side project. Kind of a "oh crap, it's getting real dark real quick" let's do that thing with the dress". This was the very first frame — my exposure test. We only had a few minutes before the light was gone but below is representative of where this setup ended up.

Call it an accident, call it the subconscious at work, call it whatever you want but without thinking or planning on it I managed to reverse my accidental default of photographing the black side of the project first and moved it to after the white side of the project. Something I've been meaning to do for a while. What's more is I also accidentally flipped that around and did what could be considered the white side again immediately after the above frame.


Above is the very first frame I made after Melanie was playing with the crop. An exposure test while she was quickly putting on collar and cuffs. Melanie saw a few of the one-handers I made a couple of weeks ago and insisted we make a few of those. We forgot so we knocked out a few and I just left the dress, boots, etc as Lauren showed up early and only had a little bit of time.

Take a look at Melanie's expression, gesture, body language, etc. in that first frame. You might not notice it but I can clearly see a significant influence from what we were playing with previously here as compared to those fragments side project setups earlier. I've re-re-re-confirmed that everything counts and more to the point what comes before has a fairly large influence on outcome. The big question now is how I am going to use that in the project.


Connecting The Dots

In setting out to put that fragments side project behind me over the weekend by happenstance I made a lot of progress in the main black/white project.

  • Used wardrobe more in line with what I have in mind for the first time. I love it.
  • Reversed the white first black after sequence and also accidentally turned that around to experiment with how that influences the results.
  • Putting Melanie on a leash in that dress gave me the notion to play with the dress/no-dress diptych thing for the side project (more on that later, haven't looked at the results yet) which gives me a path I've been searching for that has a lot of promise.
  • Made a ton of workable images I love for the fragments side project. Unless something gets in the way like real work, I'll get that out of my system in the next month or two and have a gorgeous set of prints to show for it. Already found a venue to show that project which also happened when I went out New Year's Eve.

The take-away I firmly believe is that I probably wouldn't have had a lot of that happen if I weren't documenting raw thoughts about the project regularly.

End Notes

All images made with the Fuji XT-1 and 18-55mm XF. Processed in LR CC with VSCO FILM05 BW400CN applied on import. Images with dress and crop ambient window light f/4 1/60s. All other images made with strobe.