The Shadow Series
Project info

For me, shooting the nude figure in the studio is like playing in a small jazz ensemble. Just as a jazz quartet makes music from the voices of the instruments and the passage of time, the studio gives us space, light and the body with which to make images. Obviously, other elements can be added, but in this project, I wanted to keep it simple, to play with the basic elements – a jazz trio instead of a big band.

How do you combine the available elements? Space: I shot the models from the top of a tall ladder. This perspective obscures orientation . . . is the figure flying, floating, or pinned to the wall? And we see the body in ways we aren’t used to seeing it, foreshortened, dimensional one moment, and planar the next. Light: I used a strobe with a bare bulb for this series, a harsh and, some might say, unforgiving light. Of course, this gives us the distinct shadows of the series title but it also gives us the texture of the models’ skin and the rough surface of the studio floor both with all their flaws. And the body: Nude, the body becomes the medium for a range of expression . . . isolation, repose, exuberance, connection. I asked the models to play with the notions of shadow and form as we worked and we quickly found that the shadows that emerged naturally from the light and the pose were much more interesting than any shadows we tried intentionally to create.

I have found working with these simple elements endlessly fascinating as I have made the images you see. The studio is a magical place even when stripped to its basic elements. But then, I was always a Dave Brubeck fan . . .