Saturday, 22 March 2008

Mikhail Baryshnikov: Dance Photography

Photograph © Mikhail Baryshnikov-All Rights Reserved

Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the most famous dancers in history, has turned dance photographer. His dance photographs are exhibited at 401 Projects, and is titled “Merce My Way” in reference to Merce Cunningham. I like dance photography, particularly those of ethnic character, and I frequently include photo shoots involving dancers during my photo-expeditions. The Apsara dancers in Angkor Wat, the Tantric dancing monks in Bhutan, Balinese Rejang dancers and the Guelaguetza dancers in Oaxaca have all been the subjects of my photography. Hence this post!

The New York Times has some of Baryshnikov's photographs and his narration in a slideshow feature. The narration (and the accompanying article) is stuffed of heavily artistic buzzwords (which are barely comprehensible to me), but it's well worth it.

I agree with Baryshnikov that dance photography is about photographing the movement...blurring the actions of the dancers. Obviously blurring conveys movement and I find that freezing dance movements by using a high ISO setting or a (gasp!) flash, does not appeal to me. When I use a flash, the results are often more akin to publicity posters for performances etc where the dancers seem made of wax.

New York Times' Mikhail Baryshnikov's Merce My Way

The accompanying article