Mary Ann, Box 41, April 1948


This blogpost will look at the second series of negatives in this portfolio shoot with Mary Ann Ferguson, spread over April 9 and 10, 1948.

One more tidbit about Mary Ann Ferguson, she was part of the Mardi Gras Queen’s Court for Alpha Theta Tau.

The next images are all taken poolside at COP. Joel is drawn to, and influenced by, pin-up photography, a cultural pop phenomena he was most certainly exposed to during his service in WWII, and the many photo-magazines he read in search of inspiration for poses.

Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948
Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948
Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948
Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948, COP

In the first and third image above, Joel used flash, and it shows in a better light than the second and fourth image, where there is insufficient light in the face.

As stated before, using flash outdoors will improve your photography by reducing shadows (when properly applied). In the third image the impression is created that this was photographed late in the afternoon. In all reality, the flash is overpowering the sun, and Joel metered it all right and delivered the proper exposure.

Now that Mary Ann is in bathing suit, Joel moves from the table as posing surface, to the various swimming pool ladders.

Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948
Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948
Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948

There are no signs that any of the above images were ever printed, the telltale tape marks are absent.

The photo shoot ends with poses on the diving board, a staple in pool photography at the time.

Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948

Joel changes his position to capture a different background, less cluttered, in the next two images. This is an important compositional tool.

Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948
Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948

I was happy to see that Joel abandoned the stereotypical poses and got himself up the 10 ft diving board to capture the last two images.

Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948 (Printed)

Joel figured that the pose was weak, Mary Ann squinted, so he followed up with an improvement for the second shot.

Mary Ann Ferguson, April 9-10, 1948 (Printed)

The use of flash is clear. And most likely this was a countdown with eyes closed until the shot was taken. This avoids the inevitable squinting of the face while looking in the sun.

Mary Ann did a stellar job over these two days delivering relaxed poses. She also went through 5 outfit changes. Although not uncommon, this is one more indicator that this was not just a simple portrait shoot. Both wanted to get collateral out of this effort.

I cropped, exposure and perspective corrected this last shot, and pasted it at the top of the post.

Cheers !


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