A frigid splash hits my naked back. Muscles clench in surprise. A gasp freezes inside my chest. In order to hold my pose I cannot flinch and I’m not supposed to breathe! I am in an unstable balance between leaning and sitting on this cold, wet basalt. My arms are raised above my head to keep them out of the camera’s frame, so I can’t hold onto the rocks for support. To keep from slipping or swaying as waves break, I grip hard with my toes. Only my legs are in the frame of the image, but in these conditions my entire body is rigid.
“OK, relax, that was great! I have to change film,” Craig says, as his curly head dips beneath the dark cloth of his 4×5 view camera, where he retrieves a metal holder with its two exposed sheets of film. He replaces it and takes another light meter reading.
Relax! That’s easy for him to say, he’s fully dressed and standing dry on the cobblestone beach. At least for a moment I am free to cautiously stretch between waves. I feel strain from immobility and cold’s tension in my neck and shoulders, yet I remain in position. Moving would only prolong this experience because it takes too long to re-create my position and pose, and I’m anxious for this to be over! Cable release in hand, Craig tells me he is ready. I nod, steady myself, and grimace as more icy fingers find me.
-from A Voice Within – The Lake Superior Nudes, by photographer Craig Blacklock and his wife Honey