Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Poor pic of MCB in NY TimesPhotographer's fault? Editor?


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:46 PM

Posted Image
This is not the dancer's fault at all--WHO decided that this was a picture worthy of inclusion in the NY Times?

#2 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 14 November 2011 - 06:17 PM

Agreed. Oscar Hidalgo, credited as the photographer, has done other work for the NY Times in Miami, including a couple of similarly awkward dance photographs. He is not a dance photographer per se.

This is just a portion of the photograph. To see the full photograph, here's a link to the Times article.

http://www.nytimes.c...d.html?_r=1

Those wanting to discuss the story of Edward Villella's forced retirement (as opposed to the photography), here's the thread for that topic.

http://balletalert.i...611#entry294611

#3 Amy Reusch

Amy Reusch

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,778 posts

Posted 14 November 2011 - 07:42 PM

They could have cropped her out and the photo would have been fine...

#4 ksk04

ksk04

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 482 posts

Posted 14 November 2011 - 08:03 PM

Agreed, I was almost as taken aback by this picture as from the news of Villella being forced out. How unflattering for the poor dancer! The LA Times often posts pictures like this of dancers and I just have to wonder who approved them.

#5 cobweb

cobweb

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts

Posted 14 November 2011 - 09:01 PM

I noticed too. But I wasn't surprised because there was a similarly awkward photo in the NYT just last week, of Marcelo Gomes and Maria Riccetto in the ABT City Center season. Gomes flies in the air, looking stupendous, while Riccetto is caught in mid-movement awkwardness. Couldn't they find something better?

#6 Quiggin

Quiggin

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 839 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:26 AM

I'll post the dissenting opinion and say that on the contrary the photograph by Oscar Hildago is a good one, and somewhat in the same character as that of Villella by Bill Eppridge on the second page. It shows a good contrast between the soloist and the corps.

Most contemporary dance photography tends to be overly romantic, and as photography, less adventurous than the choreography being photographed. It doesn't report.

As a something of an antidote, check out the "shockingly banal" photographs that Walker Evans did for Fortune magazine ("The Boom in Ballet") and which were also published in Lincoln Kirstein's dance journal - was it called Dance Index? Also Alexi Brodovitch's photos in his book Ballet have some bite to them. Here are Evans' outakes:

http://www.metmuseum...190029001?img=1

Also a bit unvarnished:

H Cartier-Bresson at Magnum:

http://www.magnumpho...&PN=2&CT=Search

http://www.magnumpho...SH=1&SF=1&PPM=0

http://www.magnumpho...PN=19&CT=Search

#7 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:19 AM

I'll post the dissenting opinion and say that on the contrary the photograph by Oscar Hildago is a good one, and somewhat in the same character as that of Villella by Bill Eppridge on the second page. It shows a good contrast between the soloist and the corps.

Most contemporary dance photography tends to be overly romantic, and as photography, less adventurous than the choreography being photographed. It doesn't report.

As a something of an antidote, check out the "shockingly banal" photographs that Walker Evans did for Fortune magazine ("The Boom in Ballet") and which were also published in Lincoln Kirstein's dance journal - was it called Dance Index? Also Alexi Brodovitch's photos in his book Ballet have some bite to them. Here are Evans' outakes:

http://www.metmuseum...190029001?img=1

Also a bit unvarnished:

H Cartier-Bresson at Magnum:

http://www.magnumpho...&PN=2&CT=Search

http://www.magnumpho...SH=1&SF=1&PPM=0

http://www.magnumpho...PN=19&CT=Search


Quiggin,
What a great resource.

#8 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,426 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:10 AM

A real treasure---but---the photos on the metmuseum are are mislabeled---the ballet is Danses Concertantes (with the Berman costumes) as performed by the Ballet Russe. The 1945 date is correct---that's the way it was! Lindgren, Boris, Tallchief and Franklin are easily spotted.

#9 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,533 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 02:50 PM

And Danilova. (I wondered about the company.)

Thanks for that treat, Quiggin. "The gods at play" always comes to my mind when I see dance rehearsal, even in still images. (The bemused Franklin in frame #DP50268 is one of my favorites here!)

It may be a personal quirk, but I don't usually like performance photos because they're usually timed to show achieved poses without the movement. I'll grant that the MCB Divertimento No. 15 shot here doesn't flatter the ballerina (Jennifer Kronenberg?), but it has the virtue for me of showing her on the edge of her pose - just leaving it or just reaching it - not static but implying movement.

#10 Marga

Marga

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:24 PM

This photo disturbed me when I saw it and most of the photos of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet did, too, as they were in the same vein. It used to be that many local reviews were written by those with no or little knowledge of ballet; now, the photos are suffering from the same treatment by editors who have no eye for beauty in movement.

#11 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:10 PM

I'm with Jack.

Here are my reasons, for I actively LIKE this photo

The dancer looks so active and alive and delightful.

It's not the most flattering angle, but it IS an interesting one, the sort Degas might have used. From hte FRONT she would have looked thoroughly turned out, but in fact she is wisely using less than full turn-out to allow for such depth of fondu. It's clearly an image taken on the run, that shows a dancer ready to make the next move while showing a position in its deepest amplitude. The relationship between the momentary pause and the about-to-be recovery is delicious: it shows that kind of delight in making the "in-betweens" interesting that Balanchine considered the heart of dancing.

#12 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,533 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 06:24 AM

... so active and alive and delightful...

... delight in making the "in-betweens" interesting that Balanchine considered the heart of dancing.


Exactly what MCB's fans - or some of us, anyway - relish in the company's dancing, which makes me aware of the photo's additional value, beyond being valuable to us in itself, its value in a news story, supposedly an accurate representation part of the world, in contrast, say, to in an album or in a gallery exhibit: In one shot, MCB.

#13 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:23 AM

Thanks, Paul, to that insight into the physics of Kronenberg's movement.

On the whole, however, I think it is possible to rationalize too much the artistry that may or may not underlie this photo.

Degas' ballet paintings are meticulously designed. They carry out very personal and well-thought-out intentions of the artist.

Mr. Hidalgo, whose work I've checked online, is a fine photographer, but his work for the Times -- including other MCB photos -- strikes me as the kind of thing one does briefly and spontaneously. He's not a dance photographer.

I don't think that you NEED a dance photographer for such assignments. But, considering the nature of the story, it's hard not to read the beautiful Jennifer Kronenberg's (apparently) awkward pose, combined with the (apparent) disorder of the corps standing behind her, as suggesting a company not quite at the top of its game.

I wonder what the dancers themselves would think about this photo, especially considering its prominence in a news story about stressful changes affecting their company.

#14 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:23 AM

With respect, I don't think the picture looks awkward. It does NOT look "posed" --

Actin shots of New york City Ballet from the 70 and 80s often revealed moments like this -- Martha Swope -- IF MEMORY SERVES, it was Swope -- took lots of pictures of ballerinas in the midst of high-speed combinations, like in the fondu before the next fouette, where the dancer is actively spotting and the face has the look of athletic presence, the will and decision are honestly present and not hidden behind some screen of "delicacy...." And that was one of the reasons many people thought Balanchine's women were sovereign. It's become fashionable to criticize Balanchine for subjugating women, but back in the day, what we often noticed was that they were indpendent, they didn't need their cavaliers for support....

I think this picture shows something like that -- she looks delighted to me, her back is straight and beautiful, her head beautifully supported, her face alive and fresh with a genuine smile.

Kyra Nichols once told me in an interview that "our lines suck. Balanchine wasn't interested in perfect spacing -- he was interested in energy!

#15 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:28 PM

Paul, I agree about the positives in the ballerina's portion of the photo. (I also love Kronenberg's smile in this.) I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about the complete photo including the corps -- the image published in the Times (linked in post #2).

Thank you for your points about Swopes' photos. Over the past month or so, I've been looking at NYCB photos, mostly Swopes but also others, from the the 50s-70s mostly. Quite a lot of them are collected in ballet books. Swopes was not alone in releasing prints that caught dancer in mid-movement -- not the perfect shot, but images vivid with the sense that these are real people moving through space in real time. Many of these images are are of the kind that would probably be deleted, digitally, from photo galleries today. They do have the qualities you refer to.

I especially like your descrdiption of shots ... :

where the dancer is actively spotting and the face has the look of athletic presence, the will and decision are honestly present and not hidden behind some screen of "delicacy.


Repertory in Review is full of such images. Apropos the Hidalgo photograph of Kronenberg, check out the photo of Balanchine rehearsings students doing an identical movement in Choral Variations on Bach's Vom Himmel Hoch. (p. 304)


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):