Over the past few years – several of my more experienced fellow photographers have been advising me to pick a specialty – to avoid the dangers of becoming a jack of all trades, a master of none. I guess it’s sound advice – for photography and much else in life for that matter. Go where the passion is. If you are into cars – become a car photographer. If you are into horses – you should aim to become the best damn horse photographer in the world. Sounds reasonable – right? Still – as I hate to close the door on any opportunities – I’ve been a rather reluctant student of these words of wisdom.
However – recently I’ve found myself diving into the area of dance photography. Maybe I find it so fascinating because of my own complete and utter lack of any dancing abilities whatsoever – opposites attract as they say. Maybe it’s because dance by nature is a very visual art form – and therefore lends itself to the camera. I don’t know – but the more I dive into this area – the more I’m intrigued.
Dance is essentially about expression through motion – and a still photograph is about freezing that motion – so in a way it’s two opposing forces. Sometimes dance moves will happen so fast that the eye cannot keep up – and that’s where the camera lens with it’s 1/1000th of a second glimpse of time will kick in. I believe Lois Greenfield has said, that if you see it in the viewfinder – you’re too late. That’s very true – the eye and the shutter finger are just too far apart. However – if you are ahead of the curve and hit that shutter button based on a certain level of happy premonition – your image can truly uncover the unseen.
Dance is also about poses. I know that some photographers have an almost mathematical approach to posing – and while I admire them for this ability (and have purchased and read a great many books on this subject) – I’ve always found such a rigid process troublesome. I usually get caught up in the heat of the moment and forget about all the posing rules. And I think that’s where dance might come to the rescue again – because it’s basically a flow of very beautiful poses.
Example images are from a shoot with Cayla earlier this week – where we covered a lot of ground, literally within minutes – from high speed hip-hop in a grungy location to a graceful romantic ballet by the river.