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Who are your favorite photographers of dance?

107 posts in this topic

Shatz's images seem to use the human form and ballet as a graphic tool and not to convey what dance is about. Maybe I am missing something of his intent. The images are powerful but more about themselves then about dance.

Jack Reed makes an intersting point about still photographs of dance movement... it really can't conver the idea of movement because it tenchincally requires time and a still photograph is but a tiny slice of time.

But when successully done, you "sense" the movement.. the complete line and may receive the special bonus of being able to get a really close look at "perfection" which in a live performance sometimes seems to whirl by so fast that you can't appreciate it completely.

I completely agree that posed photographs are about themselves and use a dancer as a graphic "tool"... they can be stunning photographs, but not about dance and movement. I find some of the images of actually dancing can be very powerful... and can bring me back to a moment in time and then the whole experince.

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I have many programs (mid 1960's - present) and "coffee table books" on dancers, companies etc. with lovely wonderful photos but cannot name them specifically at the moment. My favorite is from the cover of a Bolshoi program circa Tokyo tour 1968? of Maya Plisetskaya in the "Dying Swan" (or was it "Swan Lake"?) and an inside pic of her in "Carmen".

In the U.S., I always loved Martha Swope.

During the late '80's and 90's I also liked the "staff? photographer" for Boston Ballet--last name Brandt(?) who did all the pics for their newsletter "Sightlines" and in many of the ads posted around the city. The R&J ones were probably the best I've ever seen for that ballet.

Of course now I do like Rosalie O'Connor, Gene Schiavone, Paul Kolnick, Marty Sohl, some of Roy Round, and how come no one has mentioned Nancy Ellison?

Personally, my favorite pics are ALWAYS either in performance or when a dancer does NOT know the camera is present. And I agree, B&W of course is best for contrast ratio and detail without distraction, but for something like "La Bayadere" "Corsair" or other ballets with fantastic colorful costumes, or moody lighting fx, color does enhance the image as long as it's not garishly saturated.

And speaking of color photos, does anyone remember those kitschy but sometimes great pics David Hamilton took? I think we all remember those VERY worn slippers. Personally, I liked his lighting--though the scrimmed/soft-focus did get tiresome eventually.

If I ever find out the photographers' names in my programs I'll post them.

BTW: As someone who has filmed several dance productions, yes, it helps to be a former dancer and be able to both anticipate the movement and momentum, and understand the effort/thought underneath to catch that emotional link as well. I won't tell you how many times I had to instruct not-so-interested/knowledgeable cameramen that in ballet (unlike most TV/film) it is the full-shot that works best, and only rarely, a close-up--and only when there's great acting and stage makeup isn't overdone.

Thanks for all links. I too have searched for more pics then I currently have.

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I won't tell you how many times I had to instruct not-so-interested/knowledgeable cameramen that in ballet (unlike most TV/film) it is the full-shot that works best, and only rarely, a close-up--and only when there's great acting and stage makeup isn't overdone.
:):):thanks:
And speaking of color photos, does anyone remember those kitschy but sometimes great pics David Hamilton took? I think we all remember those VERY worn slippers. Personally, I liked his lighting--though the scrimmed/soft-focus did get tiresome eventually.
One of those, featuring Suzanne Farrell (so gauzy you had to look closely to be sure) (maybe Farrell Fan didn't need to), became an ad for L'Air du Temps.

Editing to add: I found this Hamilton image of Farrell. Not the one I remember (which was in a studio, Suzanne in white ballet dress), but gives an idea. Scroll to the parasol girl, which you can click to enlarge.

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Shatz's images seem to use the human form and ballet as a graphic tool and not to convey what dance is about. Maybe I am missing something of his intent. The images are powerful but more about themselves then about dance.

ALL of Shatz's photographs are about WOMEN, and his interest in them, whether his subject is dancers, twins or whatever little "theme" he is pursuing. His photos are lecherous.

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ALL of Shatz's photographs are about WOMEN,. . .
Really? http://www.howardschatz.com/portfolio/inde...=41&grouping=36 :yahoo:

Seriously, though, I agree with SanderO's point that there's no dance value in Schatz's so-called dance photographs. The bodies are at once objectified and most often glorified and eroticized. I can see how some may think the works are exploitative, but I do not -- for the most part.

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The best dance photographer in Spain is Jesús Vallinas, he became a dancer when he already was in Fine Arts and keept the 2 professions, dance and photography. And when he stopped his career as dancer he concentrated in photography.

You can visit his online magazine fotoescena taking your time to see all the issues, ten by now. You can find great photos of all the best dancers from Spain and abroad.

He also has his own web site Jesús Vallinas

Hope you like :tiphat:

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The best dance photographer in Spain is Jesús Vallinas, he was a dancer who loved taking photos and when he finished his career he concentrated in photography.

You can visit his online magazine fotoescena taking your time to see all the issues, ten by now. You can find great photos to all the best dancers from Spain and abroad.

Forget the photographs of dancers at fotoescena, look at the fabulous and penetrating photograph of Monica Mason.

Ps Not the first photograph that makes her look older than she does in life, but the second

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I am not familiar with many ballet photographers, but I have seen the work of Gene Schiavone who works for ABT and has a website:

http://www.geneschiavone.com/

I find his work captures in a still frame much of the movement of ballet... his black and white images seem particluarly strong.. such as the one on the first page of the site of Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov.

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I am not familiar with many ballet photographers, but I have seen the work of Gene Schiavone who works for ABT and has a website:

http://www.geneschiavone.com/

I find his work captures in a still frame much of the movement of ballet... his black and white images seem particluarly strong.. such as the one on the first page of the site of Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov.

Thanks, I enjoyed looking at this gallery.

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Gene Schiavoine has posted a new series of photos from the ABT Fall Season at the City Center. This is well worth a viewing. I find his images stunning not only for how well they capture the moment and the movement in ballet, but how beautiful they are as graphic compositions. This man knows how to see ballet and get it onto film!

Some (many) of his photos I simply cannot stop looking at... among them is the one of Vishneva and Malakhov which is on this home page and the one of Sarawanee Tanatanit in Glow Stop. I feel so deeply drawn into their beauty suspended in time. It's the dance, the dancers, the lighting, and of course the photographer's eye. Am I crazy or what?

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I am interested in seeing an exhibition of ballet photography in a gallery setting. Has anyone seen such a show? Would you relate your experience of such an exhibit?

If an exhibition were curated would it be something you would like to see?

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The walls of the New York State Theater -- along the orchestra level and the rings -- display photos of New York City Ballet, both recent and historical, during the season. City Center also hangs photos of many of its constituent companies -- musical theater, ballet and modern dance -- on its orchestra level.

I've also seen photo exhibitions at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

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I've also seen photo exhibitions at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Back in 2004, the NYPL at Lincoln Center had a wonderful tribute to Margot Fonteyn. Many photos from all periods in her career but also a few videos, which ran all the time. There were also exhibitions of some of her costunes as well as her personal clothing and finally lots of memorabilia.

It was a lovely tribute and the photos were the core.

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I would imagine that exhibits which richard notes are mostly about documenting the work of a company in the case cited a dancer.

I am wondering if anyone has seen an exhibit of art quality photographs where the subject matter was ballet but the work was not done for documentation or marketing but simply as the subject for the photographs? Perhaps I am not making this clear. Let me give an anaology.

There are photographs of building which show the buildings in a documenting manner. And then you will see buildings or parts of them as graphic images in some photographers work...

Does this make any sense?

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Back in 2004, the NYPL at Lincoln Center had a wonderful tribute to Margot Fonteyn. . . . It was a lovely tribute and the photos were the core.
But I remember the Giselle video most vividly. :off topic:
I am wondering if anyone has seen an exhibit of art quality photographs where the subject matter was ballet but the work was not done for documentation or marketing but simply as the subject for the photographs?. . . Does this make any sense?

I'm not sure I get your distinction; isn't any photograph documentary? I don't understand the concept of photography being the subject.

The photos I referred to above are both performance shots and some posed studio shots. They tend not to be the same photos we've lately seen on the covers of Playbills or posters , if that's what you mean by "for marketing." Many of the NYCB photos are the work of Costas, whose work has filled books as well as the annual NYCB or Balanchine calendars. I could see the distinction if we were talking about painting, perhaps (perhaps). This link will take you to "Balanchine: Celebrating a Life in Dance", and you can browse through some of the photos and see for yourself. You can enlarge the cover illustration on this page.

How's that?

P.S. The Balanchine book contains essays by our founder, Alexandra Tomalonis, and Paul Parish.

Edited by carbro

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Carbro, both of the images on the covers of the books you cite are not the types of photographs I am trying to describe.

Of course most ballet photography is taken of dancers in performance and like the pictures cited they are beautiful photos of ballet.

I am looking for something perhaps more abstract, less like a frame from a film of the ballet... like a close up of even part of a dancer for the entire picture... using dancers doing ballet as the subject for creative photography.

Marketing images tend to be like snap shots from ballet scenes..(I am looking at ABT's spring subscription mailing as an example of this) but it is possible to compose a photo as a powerful visual statement... on its own...but using ballet as the subject matter.

Of course photography can be used to document in a very literal way... and much of the ballet photos are photos of performances are like that... but another example... suppose a photographer did multiple exposures of a dancer in motion... could look like a blur of motion. The subject would have been a ballet dancer... but the images would / could be a very artistic non documentary looking photo. I know this type of work has been done by photographers... I am just wondering if any have mounted an exhibit of this type of work... exclusively.

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Very lucid clarification, SanderO. Thank you.

No, I'm not aware of any such exhibitions. Maybe some others are.

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Fabrizio Ferri has made some creative photographs of late. Not all of them have had his wife as the subject - Stiefel and Murphy in the lake, for example, which I believe may be on the cover of his recently published book. A photograph of his that I truly admire is one which appeared outside of The Met two seasons ago. It was of Giselle (Alessandra) lying in a shallow grave with her arms crossed and a veil partially covering her face. It transported the viewer to a place where the choreography doesn't. I thought it was quite hauntingly beautiful.

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My favorite ballet photographer is Steven Caras. I have had my luck in being involved in his photo shoots, and love his ability to capture our art form. His numerous books are also, to me, amazing. I love Rosalie O'Connor's work as well. And, Bob Mooney as well. I just love the photographers that have inhanced my performing career, and have :devil: given me a photographic history.

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Rosalie O'Connor and clicking through her gallery on the ABT website over a decade ago is why I started picking up a camera in the rehearsal studio years later.

A more recent favorite is also Angela Sterling who photographs PNB

Personally I would love to see a dance photography exhibit and maybe one day participate in one myself.

There's one more photographer I want to list, but his name currently escapes me.... :off topic:

-Pointe1432

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Carbro, both of the images on the covers of the books you cite are not the types of photographs I am trying to describe.

Of course most ballet photography is taken of dancers in performance and like the pictures cited they are beautiful photos of ballet.

I am looking for something perhaps more abstract, less like a frame from a film of the ballet... like a close up of even part of a dancer for the entire picture... using dancers doing ballet as the subject for creative photography.

Marketing images tend to be like snap shots from ballet scenes..(I am looking at ABT's spring subscription mailing as an example of this) but it is possible to compose a photo as a powerful visual statement... on its own...but using ballet as the subject matter.

Of course photography can be used to document in a very literal way... and much of the ballet photos are photos of performances are like that... but another example... suppose a photographer did multiple exposures of a dancer in motion... could look like a blur of motion. The subject would have been a ballet dancer... but the images would / could be a very artistic non documentary looking photo. I know this type of work has been done by photographers... I am just wondering if any have mounted an exhibit of this type of work... exclusively.

Baryshnikov had one last year that used several of the effects you described, but of course they were modern dancers from a modern company, not ballet dancers. Most of the exhibits or 'coffee table books' I have seen that used dancers as the subjects/models without documenting a particular class/rehearsal/performance have been of modern dancers, not ballet. Maybe because ballet is considered too formal? Even when its not.

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Kyle Froman who retired recently from NYCB has the most unique eye. He is the one who wrote the book "In the Wings" but has grown by leaps (jetes) and bounds since that book came out.

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Hello all,

here is yet another approach to ballet and dance. http://silverspace.eu/

Mikhail worked for the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre for many years. The site above is far from being complete and exhaustive, but it does give some hint about the artist's view. Sadly, he passed away this year, but I hope I will manage to have the site updated, making more of his extraordinary photographs available to the public.

What makes this photographer special? I believe the handful of pictures on the site answer the question.

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Thanks, Martin, these are very beautiful photos indeed. Some of them a little bit like Arpege Chabert's work, who is not, strictly speaking, a ballet photographer, but has included some POB etoiles in a recent show here. I hadn't known about the Lithuanan Ballet, and am wondering if all three Baltic nations have flourishing companies.

I see you are our newest member. Welcome. :lol:

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