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HLP Day Eleven :: Bowden Creative Space

I am The Midnight Blogger. Home late after teaching a digital photography class. Tonight I'm getting through it with a nice glass or red wine and dark chocolate.

Today we eased into the studio session with re-setting the grid onto the windows, this time using thick double-sided tape, which works a lot better but is less forgiving. But at least I know we can shoot a scene without bits falling off the background. We worked on fine-tuning the ending of the Isadora piece, considering using the fabric to wrap itself around the subject in a crazy auto-drapery session. It works quite well and reflects many of the themes of the piece in a simple strategy. I think the fabric needs to be more tightly wound perhaps, but I'm not sure that would be very comfortable for Lisa, who started to suffer a bit even in the 10 or so minutes it took to shoot. Lisa is incredibly precise and is able to hold positions between takes so well it's incredible - and I really feel for her as a 'mover' that this project has demanded so much stillness (anthropometric 10s scans included!). The irony is that the footage is absolutely frenetic!

We re-shot Isadora and this is the rough result. We need to fine-tune some of the fabric work and some movement details, as well as problem-solve the background. We have lost the lovely pale fragility and freshness of the white windows (see yesterday's blog video), but at least we have subject definition.This work is filled with postmodern references to photography (obviously), cinema, dance history and painting.

When Carol & I reviewed the footage at the end of the day, Carol suggested that we try black frames against the edges of the stage area to consolidate the background, so we played around with the flats that Cirkids have loaned us (thank you Cirkidz). Suddenly the stage area looked like a proper environment rather than a hovering specimen table with no functional context. Afer much fidding and discussion about impacts on lighting etc, we settled on a roung arrangement to start thinking about tomorrow. What I like about this solution is that it starts to function as more than a flat backdrop (which doesn't suit the array at all), and more like the shaped environment I was hoping to achieve when I designed the low-budget version of the set. I am really interested in this process - I had designed 5 blackboard flats to create an anthropometric set that could be shaped to match the array, and abandoned that when we decided to work with the windows. But I missed the potential of the side flaps to create shape - and these flats have been sitting in the studio for days as a potential solution, but I just didn't see it. As soon as Carol suggested it I thought 'of course!' - funny how things can sit under your nose without being seen.  It means, too that the array captures at the end of the rods aren't looking at distorted shapes, potentially. But it needs a lot of work to get it right and then it means we'll have to reassess the other background ideas. But I like that about this project - constantly shifting but around the same material. It may yet be abandoned, but here it is as we left it at the end of the day..

Carol propping up black fabric

considering all the elements

something to consider..Also on our agenda was to clarity the tennis layer metamorphosis, and to try to create the links in this work. We shot this tiny little sequence:

Tennis Characters

We also had a go at considering Washer Woman and the idea we've been discussing about her washing in sand. The sand idea came from the first test shoot we did to promote the idea of the project, and I really like the irony of the sand in the washbasin - simple. I wanted to try shooting the sand action on a slower shutter speed to see how the movement looked. BUT the sand was a real issue for Lisa to work with (as it was the first time), and when Carol looked at the packaging details on the sand packet (bought from a hardware store without a thought about any sand-related hazards) it had all these warnings about skin contact etc. Not friendly stuff at all. So after a slight panic and vigorous washing in real quality Bowden water, Lisa felt (I hope) better. We will have to revisit the sand idea with natural sand bought from Semaphore Beach tomorrow.


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