Some time ago an idea for a portrait, that could be used in advertising, started brewing in my head. The basic idea was to shoot a musician in an unusual environment. I almost immediately decided that I wanted it to be someone who played a classical instrument. And that’s where things could easily have stranded, as I don’t really know anyone that plays a classical instrument. That is to say, not here in Victoria.
My next hurdle was which instrument would be ideal for the shoot. Piano was kind of out the question. I’m not hauling one of those up to Mt. Douglas – at least not yet. Same thing with percussion (I was thinking a wide variety of big ones). Then I realized that I’ve always enjoyed the sound of the clarinet. So I started googling for local clarinet players, and very soon the name Rebecca Hissen came up.
Rebecca is a professional clarinet player in Victoria, a member of Music Corner, musical storytelling for young children. She has performed regularly with the Victoria Symphony, among other things, and will soon start playing with the Naden Band, Canada’s Navy band on the West Coast.
I got in touch with her, told her about my idea, met her over a cup of coffee, and the idea evolved from Rebecca playing her instrument on top of Mt. Douglas, or in a forest setting, or sitting on a stone by a brook or a waterfall, to her being halfway submerged in water. A few days later we were on Willows Beach in Oak Bay, with two waders (one for Rebecca and one for Carrie, who assisted me) and the necessary photo gear. On a Monday morning, no less. My wife’s niece tagged along to see how a shoot like this was done, and was more than willing to shoot a few behind-the-scenes frames for me.
We were very fortunate with how the weather turned out, as we were able to see Mt. Baker quite clearly. That made a huge difference for the final outcome.
Rebecca brought her own outfits, while I brought the waders which I had borrowed from a friend. She got into the rubber waders and almost ran into the water, happy enough to stay dry the whole time. Carrie, on the other hand, wore neoprene waders, which meant she got wet and a bit cold. As you can see in one of the photos below, Rebecca didn’t have to go too far out, but instead she knelt down, so that the surface of the water was around her waist.
We didn’t shoot for very long, probably less than an hour, as I didn’t want anyone (meaning Carrie) to get too cold and consequently sick.
All in all it was a fun shoot, and the whole process reminded me yet again that if you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be ‘no’.