A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Bronwen Marsden - A Beautifully Glamorous Young Woman
Monday, October 10, 2011

Mamiya RB-67-Pro-SD 90mm lens
Ilford FP-4
The photograph here is of a beautifully glamorous young woman who always projects a quiet smile. She is gracious, polite, intelligent and one of the best subjects I have ever had to face my camera. Her name is Bronwen Marsden. She is an actress, a director and a playwright. One day after having posed for me quite a few times she emailed me the following:


Dear Alex,


I'm so sorry I didn't respond to this sooner! I have this terrible habit of starting to read long emails when I receive them on my iPhone, and then realising that they require more attention than I can give them on that device, and so putting them aside and then promptly forgetting about it. It's a bad habit, and I need to work harder to stop doing it. Your email suffered this fate, I'm afraid. I am certainly very interested in continuing to work together.


I really like this Edward Hopper/computers/non-portraits idea. How (where) would you want to approach it?


I've also had the beginnings of an idea recently. I bite my nails, and have for as long as I can remember, and it's something that I consciously make an effort to hide, at least to some extent, when I'm acting or modelling. I feel like, to this point, I've only ever been photographed as a pretty young woman, idealised in form. What would it be like to be photographed as a flawed young woman? Does that make sense?


Anyway, I've got a fair bit of free time right now, so whenever you'd like to get together will probably work for me.


All the best,


Bronwen

The picture here was one of the first of our new session where we were to approach the flawed young woman. It is a straight picture with pleasant lighting. After this picture I used two different routes. One was to slip a deep green filter on to both the 140mm and 90mm lenses of my Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD loaded with Ilford FP-4. A green filter will render anything red (blemishes, freckles, etc) darker). In fact the green filter was one of Ottawa photographer Karsh’s methods for rendering men (particularly those not so young) with effective character, erudition and passion. The use of a green filter on any woman would result in the woman’s lawyer issuing the offending photographer with a lawsuit alleging character assassination.

For the second route I removed from my freezer two precious rolls of the long discontinued Kodak Technical Pan (120, medium format for my Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD). I loaded a second Mamiya film back (the other held the Ilford FP-4). This film was the sharpest film ever manufactured. It is a black and white film with an enhanced red sensitivity which tends to render flaws in human skin almost invisible. But because of its inherent sharpness, every detail of a person’s face, skin and body will show.

One of the ways of noting the difference between the pictures taken with one or the other film (regardless of the fact that for some I have artificially colourized them red) is that those with the green filter will make Bronwen’s lips a tad darker. I asked her to wear purple based lipstick so that the Technical Pan’s lightening of anything red would not render her lips with a deathly pallor.

It is my feeling that to photograph Bronwen with bad lighting in bad angles would not do her any service nor would it prove anything. Early on we both suspected that some of this flawed look that she wanted had to come from her and from her inside. What you see in the next blog is her essay on how she feels about herself and what led her to our new series, which I hope will continue.

More than a face
Draped to kill
Everyman and Everywoman
Bronwen & Michael in the Malibu
Michael's Dream
Ad Nauseum - I don't think so
A Russian in Langley



     

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7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17