La Cambre Abbey

It was November 2012 when I have met Alexandra. We have decided to not wait till spring and do a photo session right now. We wanted to do some exposed photos in the parc, so we had to start early when not many people are there. She came to my place Sunday morning. There we have made a strong makeup to bring attention to her bright beautiful eyes. About the hair, we have decided to make them curly to gain some volume and to put them up to gain this classy look. We have tried few clothes from my “photo” wardrobe, and finally, we have picked simple black long skirt. For that, we need something on the top that will cover and show at the same time. Finally, we have found another black pleated skirt, that when put around the neck, started to look like a nice bolero. We have also taken a long coat to protect a model from low temperature and to hide her from the eyes of passers-by.

My equipment I took for this trip was Pentax 67 camera with w lenses: 105mm and 75mm. And few rolls of Kodak Tri-X film. We have arrived at the Abbaye la Cambre parc early in the morning. Luckily there was a sun shining happily. Anyway, it was very visible that at those winter temperatures Alexandra was freezing. The day before I had spotted beautiful cut trees, some ancient buildings that are perfect as a background for such elegant photoshoot. Because the sun was very low, I have decided to show this beautiful morning light in her hair. There was still enough of it to show the front of a model. Setting her in different poses and searching for best composition and facial expressions was quite hard as she was constantly trembling of cold. We have quickly taken several photos. Then covering her with the coat, we were waiting to warm up. We have noticed one pedestrian coming towards us. It was old lady walking her dogs for a morning walk. Dogs were quite happy as they had some warm blanket. These were so cute that I decided to give it a try and ask old lady if we may use her dogs for one minute to take one picture. She happily agreed to help us. Seems that dogs had very different opinion on the subject. After I have positioned model I carried dogs to her. Those two beasts were far from cooperation, moving and turning in all directions. I saw Alexandra started to feel uncomfortable to keep position, dogs, and dying of cold in the same time. Finally with a help of their master I have managed to set dogs more less as I wanted. Took two or three photos (When I know that photo will be good I usually take the second one, to be sure to have it sharp and in focus), and immediately after that, we have headed home.

There a hot tea, or two, to melt a bit. Meantime I have found a white victorian shirt with cute lace finish and rows of small silk buttons in the front and on sleeves. Fix hair a bit, add to that long earrings and wow, what a beautiful portrait would it be. For that, I have taken my 4×5 Speed Graflex camera and Aero Ektar lens. I have set model next to the window, to have a soft light on her body and clothes. Now to details. Turned her face towards me to have this Rembrandt triangle of light under her eye. Now to make a portrait more interesting I decided to have three points of attention: strong royal face, nipple shining through the delicate material of her shirt, and finally her hands opening/playing with buttons. Each of those elements is interesting already for a portrait. Can keep viewer’s attention for a while. However, when you put all those little details together they make composition and final image even more interesting.


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