I took this photograph on the Noosa River in Queensland, in February 2001, in the bewitching dying light, after a long day of shooting Steve, a model who became a good friend and, on this particular trip, a great host.
Steve was a fantastic subject, keen and energetic. But his stamina was waning by the time we took these last few shots, and he had already been in the river for some time. But I had dragged out my Mamiya 7 medium format film camera at the last minute, wanting to get a few frames on it. And Steve was a keen sportsman and had brought along his fishing rod, so I gave him a chance to fish. By the time the light went, he was shivering from the wet and cold and could no longer hold a pose without shaking violently. Plus he was turning blue.
That’s the trouble with me. If a subject is enthusiastic, I push them and myself until we’re on the brink, just to find the limits of our mutual creative collaboration. I enter into a kind of mad phase, with low blood sugar and dehydration, from not enough breaks in shooting, and I am convinced I am just on the verge of achieving the best shot ever, if I can just push us a little further. (Assistants love me when I’m like this!)
After all the effort on that particular day, I had never to this day seen this shot, and many others from this shoot, apart from on proof sheets. I hadn’t gotten around to printing anything from the several sheets.
So finally, 12 years later, having shot on digital cameras, only, since 2003, I have set up my new film scanner, ( which has been sitting in the box I bought it in, for two years!). This is one of the first few negatives I have scanned. Hopefully I will get around to scanning many of these images that have not seen light of day!