As I’m writing this, most of the central and eastern US is suffering under a record-setting heatwave. I typically don’t shoot in heat like this at all, given the myriad problems that it presents both in terms of health and wardrobe. A week ago, though, it wasn’t quite so bad. Sure, it was warm, but that kind of comfortable Midwestern warmth with a gentle breeze that kept people from feeling as though they were stepping out into a giant oven.
We didn’t have anything scheduled so when model/photographer Shannon Young mentioned she was in the mood to shoot with herself as the model, I jumped at the opportunity. Mrs. Young is one of those young women who seems to do everything from wrangling children to creating and sewing original designs, painting, modeling, and hair and makeup. She is also a talented young photographer. We had been watching her work for quite a while but had not found a concept we were comfortable pitching to her.
After a short online conversation with Mrs. Young, I packed my camera and minimal tools and set off for Anderson, Indiana, a once booming town about an hour north of Indianapolis that, despite its manufacturing history, struggles to remain relevant. When I left home, the skies were blue and the sun was bright. As I left the Interstate and drove into Anderson, however, it was hit with a brief rain shower and clouds that didn’t seem to be in a hurry about going away. My assumption was that, as with most summer storms, once it stopped raining we would be safe.
Meeting Shannon was delightful and it wasn’t long before we were making our way down to a creek that we hoped would provide the perfect setting for a few swimwear shots. There’s no explanation why I’m so focused on swimwear this summer, it’s just one of those things I need to do to keep the crazy in check. The water was flowing a little faster than had been expected but the trees were aesthetically interesting and having the stream in the background still provided context even if she didn’t get wet.
Then, without much more than a second’s warning, the skies opened up and it began to pour. Hard. We took shelter under separate trees and waited. I had an umbrella in the van but, naturally, had left it there on the mistaken assumption that we were done with the rain. We stood there hoping that this would be a brief shower that would quickly go away. It wasn’t. 30 minutes later, the rain let up enough for us to risk walking back. We were both thoroughly soaked.
Shannon was not of the mind to simply give up, however, and after drying off a bit we decided to at least try a few black and white shots on the porch. The clouds were still rather heavy and dark, but that set up a dark, contemplative mood that reminded me just a bit of The Doors 1971 song, “Riders On The Storm.” [Okay, not so much the disturbing lyrics, but that E Dorian-toned melody that Jim Morrison wrote, giving the lyrics just the right amount of darkness.] By the time we dropped 50 or so frames on that set, the sun had decided to make another appearance. So we quickly ran over to the site of a demolished factory and took advantage of the ruins there, barely getting in another 50 frames before it began raining again.
Working with Mrs. Young was a pleasure and perhaps once this meteorological death grip eases up we can get together again and do a full shoot with all the nuances and creativity available. If that happens, we’ll be sure to post the results here. In the meantime, click on any of the thumbnails below to view the full-sized gallery.