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My friend Stephanie Tait was working in Edinburgh for a couple of weeks in August 2010. She lives in Los Angeles, and absolutely loves the warm Californian summer and the opportunities it affords for wearing light summer dresses… not quite how one might characterise much of the Scottish summer. Nonetheless, she readily agreed to a dawn photoshoot that I suggested to her, even though she knew this would involve her getting into the North Sea wearing not very much… my images were conceived of as a narrative series with perhaps 3-5 images telling a little story of resistance and resignation, perhaps culminating in a kind of death.
On the day she was absolutely wonderful, but after three different positions – ever further into the water, with the red blouse opening further each time and her seeking to offer different expressions – the cold did get the better of her. When I wanted to go for a new series of shots, with her being almost entirely submerged in the incoming waves with her eyes gently closed and the blouse open (though still covering her breasts), she resisted… expressions of resistance was what I wanted, but I wasn’t expecting her to be resisting me! But she was extremely cold to the point that I was really rather worried about her – so I got her out, gave her lots of hot tea, and helped her put on multiple layers of clothing before getting her back into the car and heading off to breakfast.
So there is not really a narrative as originally envisaged to this episode, but there are still some images that I think are rather striking:
The water was so very cold, that much of the time she was alternately screaming and laughing in shock at the craziness she had let herself in for… Perhaps we’ll have another go at the narrative idea in warmer water sometime – when I’m visiting her in sunny California! These last two images were taken as she was warming up and getting dressed. That she was still striking a pose for the camera after all I’d put her through was when I knew she was going to be just fine… (see also the blog posting on this shoot).