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Driftwood on a beach has always had a certain allure with me. Really big driftwood is a really big magnet. Big Talbot Island has entire trees – hundreds of them, it seems – on its beach, and, though some effort is required to get there, it offers intriguing photographic possibilities.

I returned there recently with Suzi West to get something different (at least for me). I tend to key shift quite strongly (2 or more stops), giving dark, dramatic, saturated skies. But, this time, at least, I wanted something light and bright, with a more balanced approach.

The subject was to be “a woman in search of herself” – contemplative, isolated.

I wanted Suzi in a white, flowing, airy dress. It provides a visual clue, not only to the look of the theme but implies a certain innocence. It is a romantic view, contrasting with Big Talbot’s almost eerie quality. Lightening the scene and simplifying the elements (reducing the number of items in the frame) helps in this regard.

“The Boneyard,” as it is called, can easily be portrayed in a dark and sinister mood. But not today.


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