Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Commitment in Dance and Photography

I have a lot in common with the dancers I work with in my Dancers Among Us project. Dancers rehearse and train for hours for brief moments on stage, and photographers take hundreds of pictures to get that one perfect shot. We're both committed to our art, and we are both willing to sacrifice time and energy for an elusive and fleeting reward.

My photo shoot with Annmaria Mazzini, a dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, is a great example of this. Her physical stamina is amazing -- during the photo shoot, she jumped a total of ninety-two times (in the pouring rain!) before we got that one perfect image. Just as she is committed to achieving beautiful movement, I'm committed to getting the best shot, even if that means spending hours in the rain.

For this shoot, we started off with other poses. I wanted to avoid asking her to jump in a rainstorm, but nothing else looked good. For example:

Even once we started with the leaps, though, she had to leap over and over again until we got the right shot. Here's the first of ninety-two jumps....

And another....

This one has a very cool effect. Someone else took a photo of her at the same moment, and the flash on their camera illuminates her body and the rain. Love the shot, but her back leg is cut off.

On to the next....

This was my second choice. I love seeing the Macy's sign and all the people. I also love the woman checking her out. But she didn't stand out enough -- too much distraction behind her.

Finally, on her fiftieth leap, we got the shot.

Perfect position, great expression, good framing, and, most importantly, in focus! A little retouching from Joe Barna at Colorworks resulted in the final, flawless image.