Gloomy Sundays

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

It has been a few weeks I wanted to shoot something like this.  Spring came rushing in; rolling over winter like it never existed.  We got incredibly warm weather very early in the season but lately, things have changed.  The days are colder, darker.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in an upcoming exhibit.  It is an open theme so I spent some time on the computer, going through the material I shot over the past years.  It was difficult.  I had to come up with 4 prints.  You would think it would be easy considering the number of finished photos I produced lately but one thing was hitting me strait in the face.  For each photos I was asking myself “Would I put that on my walls?”.

Would I?

I am proud of what I have done so far but came to realize that I have been shooting more people than emotions.  Before shooting people I was leaning toward architectural photography, usually done at night, recording the lines, shapes, and contrast communicating the way I was feeling.  And that was it, it was “feeling photography”.  Going through my photo catalog, I was looking for 4 feeling photos and was struggling with the exercise.

Every once in a while, I visit 500px and go through the work of some of the photographers I follow.  The last time I visited the site, I spent more time one a certain type of photos and realized these photos were bringing me back to that time when I was spending some time by myself, on the street, in the middle of the night.  There was something incredible happening when the images were coming up on the screen was at par with the state of mind I was under.  It was clear I needed that back, at least once.  I needed to not shoot someone in an environment but an emotional image.  Eva came to mind right away.

I have worked with Eva a few times before.  Her artistic presence in front of the camera is simply incredible.  There was no doubt she would be perfect for such project and felt relieved when she accepted to participate, especially at the time I wanted to start at.  We shot early in the morning.  I met her in front of her apartment building at 8am last Sunday and headed down our 1st location, then 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.  By 11am, we were done.  We had shot in Montreal, Lasalle, and Dorval.  On each location, Eva was delivering exactly what I was going for.  Shooting the images I was going for meant also shooting differently.  I was going for natural light, no reflectors, no fill flash, and mainly wide angles.  This meant all I needed was my camera and a couple of lenses.  We were lucky with the weather I must say.  No Sun in sight.  All we had was a heavy sky, threatening to burn into rain at any given moment.  This gave a much diffused light with light textures in the bright sky.  The light rain we had received during the night left a darker gritty surface on the ground and concrete.  It was clear, weeks before, that the project would mainly be black and white and these were perfect conditions.  Through the shoot, I never showed once the camera’s LCD to Eva.  Everything was falling into place; the locations, the emotions, the state of minds, everything.  I did not want to bias that and I think it paid off.

I had prepared for this shoot a few days ahead.  I listen to a lot of music in a week and this past week, I was concentrating on sounds leading me to the state of mind I needed for this shoot.  All week long before the shoot, I listened to Jorane, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, and M83.  The same music played again in my car on the way back home and as I was working on the images.  I went for a specific black and white look and did very minimal retouching on the photos.   In less time it normally takes me, I was done with the processing, probably because of the stronger attachment I had toward these images.

People were complaining this week about the weather.  If I could make these images every day, I would take that daily dose of gloomy Sundays.

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