After literally growing up with a camera in my hands shooting landscapes, I quickly realized that my passion for photography was heightened by the interaction with my subjects, and those that could talk back to me took precedent over those who couldn’t. This led to years of shooting professional models for commercial and portfolio projects, and eventually to my deep appreciation for dancers and my passion for dance photography.
We are all a product of our environment, and my journey to dance photography has shaped who I am now as a San Francisco dance photographer. My years of shooting landscapes are most likely responsible for my clear preference to photograph dancers on-location, rather than in a static studio setting. The world is filled with photographs of beautiful ballet and contemporary dancers performing on stage, or caught in mid-air with a white, black or gray studio backdrop. Those images are beautiful, but they are rarely memorable.
My goal is to create thought-provoking images of dancers in settings that complement their unique abilities and create differentiation from the plethora of studio or performance dance images that fill the portfolios of most dancers. The question I always like to ask models or dancers who are assembling a portfolio is, “Do you want to look the same as the thousands of portfolios that cover the desks of casting and artistic directors, or do you want to create a portfolio that will stand apart from the rest?”
Actors and dancers are going to be put on-stage or on a set with striking backgrounds, so why would anyone want to fill their portfolio with photographic images shot against a sterile studio background? In the alternative, we live in a world full of beautiful places. It is our stage, and can be artistically integrated into the creation of striking dance portraits or portfolio images. Dance photography should not all look the same, and with patience, discipline and a creative spirit, we can create art, not just photographs.