A picture is worth a thousand words
In the stirring and theatrical surrounds of a photography studio are 12 people in various positions – sitting, kneeling and standing – holding cameras pointed towards a female dancer as she curls and pirouettes. The only sounds are the continuous clicking of camera shutters and the quiet piano notes of a recorded musical soundtrack.
This is English National Ballet’s Dance in Focus course, led by top UK dance photographer Chris Nash. With dancers from West London dance companies, course participants of all ages and levels of experience are guided through the basics of photographing dance.
Photograph by Daniel Paul Jones
A dark costume against a dark backdrop is a common problem when photographing performances. Nash highlights the importance of ensuring the body is differentiated from its surroundings in an image. Nash also describes the need to create an image the viewer can make sense of, with legs and arms clearly shown. A female dancer repeats one particular pose many times to allow participants to experiment with which angle, distance and lighting effect work best.
The course continued over two days, exploring photographing turns and jumps, overlapping groups and using a flash. Participant, Jo Haywood, stated: “I was so excited about the course and it has exceeded my expectations. My camera was a Christmas present and I’ve been clicking away with no idea how to do it properly. Chris Nash’s top tips have been amazing! I’ve got a daughter who does ballet and I’m feeling inspired now to photograph her. “
Is an expensive camera the key to good photography? Nash says: “generally the more you spend, the higher quality pictures. But you can still take great photographs even without the best quality equipment.”
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. The Dance in Focus participants’ photographs will be on display at City Hall from 25 June – 14 July with a special inspired dance performance and panel discussion on Monday 9 July. To book this special event click here.
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Tags: 2012, ballet, Big Dance, Chris Nash, City Hall, cultural olympiad, Dance GB, london, London 2012 Festival, olympics