A Series in Fourteen Photographs
Years ago I visited the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, a sister museum to Paris’s version. But it wasn’t Rodin’s art that I was truly inspired by, it was the model and the poses and positions they put themselves in to allow Rodin to create. I left that museum thinking more about the model/s than I did about the art.
Rodin’s main model was Camille Claudel. Claudel was an incredible sculptor in her own right and it was when she apprenticed for Rodin that he began to predominantly use her as a model. There’s a lot more to that story and I encourage you (if interested) to spend some time reading about it. I’m not an expert on either of them, but you don’t have to be one to realize how much Claudel inspired Rodin’s work. As a photographer who works mainly with models, usually one per series, I fully understand the importance of collaboration. Without the model, I don’t have a photograph. And while I am in charge of directing and working the camera, they are still a massive part of each session. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many outstanding people, mainly regular people lending their body to model, that have contributed greatly to a photograph and subsequent series. Whether it’s a suggestion on their part, the way they moved or stood, or placed themselves over a rock, many of them played a large role. It’s hard not to imagine Claudel contributed greatly to Rodin’s work and after seeing so many unique and odd poses in Rodin’s pieces, I was inspired to create a small series around those poses.
Since that museum visit I’ve thought about the series often. It was only this past summer I decided to finally act on the inspiration. I found a great model, Nicole Cudzillo (based in New Mexico) and a perfect location (with guidance from Nicole). We chose the best day of the week for the best light and the least chance of rain and committed— it was a 6hr journey so staying over was a must. As the day arrived, the chance of rain severely increased to a point where it was 100%. Normally a rainstorm wouldn’t hinder me much, I’ve done plenty of sessions in the rain, however this particular storm stalled out above our area and it rained heavily, and hailed, for two straight hours. It rained so severely that it flooded out the the road to get to our location. I had to scrap a few original ideas, it was far more stressful, but we still made it happen.
One final note; at the last minute I decided to add in an “unveiling” photo by using a piece of fabric I had with me, essentially to simulate the unveiling of a new sculpture at the opening reception of a gallery show— those photos ended up being the focus of the series and I’m thankful I decided to go with that idea. It was all done very rudimentary— me counting down from three and timing the shutter as perfectly as possible with the pull. Thank you Meg, for doing a stellar job with the pull of the fabric. :)
All of the above series photos were originally posted to Instagram so some of you may have seen them already. Even though they were censored, they were still flagged and I ended up removing them. I’m planning to post more photos on Substack then on Instagram, going forward.