A question of balance

Posted on Tue, 9 July 2013

We were doing an experimental shoot with this evening with MaYa as model and, as is often our practice, a dog-earned copy of one of Sugiura's books for tying inspiration. As most of his photos seem to feature old style rigs on bamboo, we set up the pole and the newly recovered backdrops I had just finished for BOUND. I was about to get an elementary physics lesson.

Anyway, the point of the post was not to talk about the shoot but about a salutary reminder of the principals of physics. Fortunately, it passed with out incident but it did drive home how easy it is to forget the blindingly obvious. As you can see, she was suspended on a combination of futo-momos (bent leg), a hip/waist rope and a t-k. For the sake of the shoot, we decided to de-rig the futo-momo lines, then the waist rope, hoping we could get her knees on the ground for a final position. As it turned out she was still about an inch off the ground, I started to lower the final line on the takate-kote. As she was just about down, the final line was quite near the end of the pole, so now the load was now at the extremity outside the rope supporting the bamboo. Yep, you guessed it, I hope. The pole tipped, dropping my suspension lines off the end, causing the final moment of the descent to be a little more expeditious than planned. Fortunately, not even a bruise was sustained but it a major heads-up not to forget the point of balance when using a pole or the like and how it changes as you make transitions. It had been as stable as hell earlier due to the loading between the points suspending the bamboo. However, by not untying in the same order as I tied the rig, I upset the counter-balancing that had been achieved by the sequence in which I had rigged. The consequences could have been serious, so let this be a wake up call.