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Who are your favorite photographers of dance?What makes them special?


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#61 SanderO

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 09:13 AM

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?

#62 SanderO

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 03:04 PM

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?

#63 carbro

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 03:47 PM

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.

#64 richard53dog

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 05:10 PM

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.

#65 SanderO

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 05:50 PM

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?

#66 carbro

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 06:41 PM

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, 14 December 2006 - 06:57 PM.


#67 SanderO

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 07:01 PM

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.

#68 carbro

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:08 PM

Very lucid clarification, SanderO. Thank you.

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

#69 Haglund's

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 06:02 PM

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.

#70 Pas de Deux

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 07:17 AM

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.

#71 Pointe1432

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:51 PM

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

#72 4mrdncr

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:02 PM

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.

#73 printscess

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 09:12 AM

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.

#74 martin

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 02:05 PM

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.

#75 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:20 AM

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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