Blog

Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

Dance Photography: New Work

During October and November I worked closely with the owner/choreographer of Eclipse Dance Co to photograph her dancers for a show that opened at the end of November. This project was a bit different than previous dance shoots. Our objective was to shoot for prints that would be exhibited during the show. Each image would feature a specific pose and be suspended within the dance space. The show did not open on a stage, rather a unique event space that exists within a former mill. The title of the show was "Still Moving." It fused the still images within the actual dance. The pieces were site specific, relying on the structural elements of the space to build a stage. The goal was for the audience to navigate around the space while the dancers moved through the space. It was a different take on observing dance. 

I really enjoyed the close relationship the dancers had with the audience. The audience became a part of the show with their interaction. At times the dancers swept their ways through observers. It was different, far more different than most dance performances that I have been too. It was refreshing to be a part of something so creative. 

You might not always have an assistant, so do the next best thing, set the lights using whatever talent is available.

In terms of the portraits of the dancers, they were photographed at the dance studio. Over the course of 4 shoots we were able to capture the ideal images of the dancers, the ideal poses, that would fit within the show. Working from a mood board that the owner of the dance co put together, we were able to use her studio space during their rehearsals to capture the images.

We've photographed dancers on roof tops, parks, other landscapes, but this images is one of my favorites because of the relationships between the two. Compositionally I adore the poses. 

In the 4 shoots that we had there was only one major technical issue that arose. How do we film the dancers from above? There was a request to film one of the pieces from above. The film was to be shown while dancers performed the piece. It was going to be a dramatic and incredible forced perspective on the piece. The first shoot we were unable to mount the camera in the right manner. Working with my 5d, I tried a few set ups of mounting the camera above the dancers. WIth no luck I had to abandon the entire process that I sculpted. There was one idea that I had that would incorporate a raised pole that went up and down for one of the dance classes. If I could lift the horizontal pole high enough, mount a camera looking down, all would be good. The next challenge, how do I mount onto a 6"+ pole? It took some serious out of the box thinking. In the end I used my Gopro Hero 3+ mounted with a U shaped bracket and a magnet. I had to do some serious research to figure out of a magnet would work. Why? Welp, simple. Magnets F*** things up. Magnets and electronics don't always work. Don't believe me, go grab your computer and a strong magnet and see what might happen. Once mounted, lifted, I ran the Gopro via my iPad and worked closely with the owner of the studio to ensure the dancers were in the right position. After several takes we nailed it, the dancers nailed it, the project came to a wrap. 

The following photos were a part of the show.

 

The following gallery are a few highlights from the performance on opening night.