Did two Instagram posts this week that people seemed to enjoy, both involving dancers. I think the sheer audacity of dance, and how extraordinary humans can volley themselves into improbable shapes and flights of fancy captures the imagination and the eye in special ways. One can say, quite accurately, that that is the aim of all artistic endeavors. Painting could be considered contemplative, and perhaps a bit quieter as an experience. Good writing fosters a very personal, private relationship with the reader. Dance is public, physical and exuberant. Dancers thrive in the spotlight, like flowers in the sun. If there is an art form that is a more powerful lure for the eye in the camera, I don’t know about it.
Technically, the above two pictures couldn’t have been simpler to make. Available light, Nikon DF camera, the leaping shot with a 24-70 and the angel on yellow shot with a 50mm. Take, Kimberly Almaguer, a lovely young dancer, in soft light, and mix in the old walls of Mexico, and, well, there you go.
As I have always said, dancers possess a unique ability to physicalize the photographer’s imagination. And it doesn’t seem to matter much if the shot is spontaneous, and seemingly effortless on both sides of the camera, or whether the photographer’s imagination conjures complexity for the dancer to enact.
The above is a strip soft box from above, with a minor amount of fill from the direction of camera, just to open shadows, but not enough to interfere with the power and direction of the light the dancer, the super talented Jeff Mortensen, is popping up into. A large volume of light covers the unlikely human sculpture the dance troupe Pilobolus is famous for creating.
Lights or no lights, on the stage or in the street, with dancers, it is often enough just to take a camera in hand, and be ready for beautiful improbability. When that occurs, the shutter opens, as does your heart.