Claudine – Isolation
Claudine is simply wonderful to work with. Beautiful, with complete excitement and joyful enthusiasm. Claudine is 100-percent all in when it comes to creating something interesting. I’ve never seen her in a bad mood. I mean, I’m sure she has them. We all do. But I’ve never witnessed her in one. Claudine is positivity.
She arrived in Hawaii at Zoefest XIII a few days after most of us, and even though we had all been filling up our schedules with shoots all over Kauai, I knew I had to sneak in at least a little time with her. I had two other bookings the day I photographed Claudine, so I proposed something simple for her. And I couldn’t be more happy with the results.
As I’ve mentioned before, Gentle Readers, I’ve been looking to create art that’s a little different from the work I’m most known for. It’s not that I’ve grown bored with what I’ve been creating, but I’ve been finding I’ve been wanting to inject my work with something a little more personal as of late. Something a little more about my humanity, warts and all. And having the opportunity to channel that through a beautiful collaborator like Claudine, is very special to me.
And of course, Claudine was up for going on my little adventure. As she always is.
In one part of our suite in Kauai, was a little room with sliding slatted doors. And I found when I temporarily removed the tourist room art from the walls, it created a nice empty space. It had two lounges that could be turned into beds, and I removed all the bedding from one except for the simple white sheets. This would be a starting point.
I began by having Claudine sit on the edge of the bed. I explained the feeling I wanted to express with her that day.
“I’m looking for something that tells a bit of a story. And this story is more about being alone than anything else. Isolation. I want to use you in this very empty simple space to create something that makes you seem very small in this environment.”
It wasn’t that I wanted her to represent her feeling isolated or alone. I wanted her to express something I had been feeling from time to time recently. I wanted her to be my stand-in for that feeling.
She immediately got it. Because she’s just that good that way.
Claudine is a beautiful woman. A real, beautiful, woman. And the reason I wanted to work with her on this idea, is that in the past she’s been able to create characters that wonderfully express an idea or concept I have. A few years ago, back in Chicago, I shot a short film with her called, “Hello??” It involved a situation that I’m afraid far too many women are familiar with, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go ahead and click on it now and come back so I don’t ruin the ending for you. I’ll wait.
Okay. You’re back.
Yeah, every time I show it to a woman friend of mine, they always say the same thing.
“Auuugh. No. No! I hate that!”
Claudine, without saying a word, spoke volumes with her face and body language. The hurt. The resolve to just move forward.
And I knew, here in our little resort room, she’d be able to help me express another very common feeling. That feeling of being alone. Being isolated.
I made dozens of photos of her sitting on the edge of the bed. Then sitting back against the wall. And then I suggested something new.
“There’s no earthly practical reason why you would stand in the corner in the space between the bed and the wall, but let’s try something with that,” I suggested.
I had been careful up until that point with my framing, not to include much of anything else in the room besides the bed and the wall behind it, keeping it a very clean and simple composition. But this time I composed the shot to include the bathroom door and some of the interior. Suddenly I had some extra context for the story.
The photo above is the last frame I shot during our session. I felt that we didn’t need to go any further. That was it. Perfect.
Thanks Claudine for helping me express something a little unexpected on our island paradise. Because even with the beautiful ocean lapping up to the front of our little home, with incredibly unimaginable scenery all around us, I needed this that day. Something, not the usual.
You can find Claudine in many places online…