Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Some of my favourite moments from past ballet shoots were the split-seconds I had to capture a thrilling jump by one of my dance friends.
This memorable photo from 2017 still remains to be one of my top favourites, taken of a close friend of mine - Kali Oliver, whom I had worked with in choreography and performed with on stage at The Chautauqua Institution during the summers of 2014 and 2015.
She's an incredible dancer, and so much fun to photograph:
The origin of this particular (above) shot took about an hour and a half of walking around, until we stumbled upon an empty subway station:
(Above three images source: Google)
191th Station had just the most fascinating and creative graffiti, that it was hard to ignore such a wonderful opportunity. As Kali was a strong contemporary dancer, the personality and feel of the moment felt even more ideal.
I remember spending most of that afternoon taking the subway up from downtown Manhattan and exploring Fort Tryon Park with Kali. As with most of my photoshoots, I had proposed to take advantage of the nice weather and walk around a select location - pausing only if we both found a potential place where there was an interesting possibility to capture a creative ballet moment.
Another one of the photos I took happened just as we both crossed a stone arch in the Park:
“Dancing is creating a sculpture that is visible only for a moment.” ― Erol Ozan
But photography captures that split-second moment... forever! :)
It's always a humbling experience to me when I'm shooting dancers on location - trying to adjust my camera settings, frame the dancer, decide on what pose or jump they want to do... amongst many other things that are on my mind in trying to capture the motion. And I've found it's always such a thrill for the dancers to have their artistry captured in that split second as well.
I realize the more and more I do these shoots that there is a pattern of similarity; an interesting link that connects what I had first visualized the photo to look like and the final result of the photograph, as I'm there kneeling on the ground setting up the shot.
Following every shoot, there's always the more fascinating part of sitting down and sifting through all the photos I took, seeing them for the first time since the images were captured on a bigger screen - what they actually look like to a viewer. I imagine it's quite similar to a chef tasting their own dish for the first time, or a composer listening to their composition after imagining the result in their head.
An archival video recording from a choreography rehearsal with Kali, back in August 2015.
Chautauqua's annual choreographic competitions always allow the student festival dancers to act as principal choreographers and inspires many creative ideas.
This video is set to Fritz Kreisler's well-known solo violin composition: Recitativo & Scherzo.
(Triple Pointe Photography | Official Photography of Triple Pointe Media)
For all my ballet photographs to date, check out my photography page on Instagram!
More on these photoshoots in a bit... (!)