Dance! (about my dance photography)

January 31, 2010

This text is from the preface to my book of dance photography, Dance!, which is available directly from me, or from The book includes full page reproductions of all the images in galleries  Dance 1 and  Dance 2 on my photography web site,

I document the work and energy that goes into dance — not just the final performance. Being in the studio as dances are created, or even as dancers prepare themselves, feels like being in a delivery room as children are being born. Amidst pain or anguish, tempered with rhythm and support, and bolstered with faith, new life emerges. It’s physical, sometimes sensual, often spiritual. Too often this process is ignored, as image makers look only at the final result — the dance.

There is an interesting duality in my work. I may be telling the dancer’s story, or the choreographer’s story, with images that are journalistic, clear, descriptive. But just as often I’m recording my own impressions of what I see and feel. I used to worry that my dance images, which may appear at first to be flawed because they are blurry, out of focus, or grainy, were more about me than about my subjects. Now I don’t worry at all — just acknowledge this fact, and listen with interest as the dancers and choreographers take in my vision.

When asked to provide an “artist’s statement”, I typically refuse. “There is none!”, I write. “Look at these pictures, and see what you get. Do I need to write about my passion or excitement, my vision, my technique, or about how making these images was a deeply spiritual encounter? My statement is in the visual experience you have.”

Indeed, the images should speak for themselves. Any statement that I write would only be about my experience and my process — or perhaps about the dancers or choreographers. But that experience that I had, which led me to frame a picture, and present it to you with the implied exclamation, “Look at this!” . . . it should be best communicated by the image itself.

Dance photography is always a collaboration, and mine grows out of relationships with dancers and choreographers, a sense of trust and respect, and a willingness to share what is really an intimate space. Thanks to all the dancers who welcomed me into their world.

One Response to “Dance! (about my dance photography)”

  1. Thi Cesa said

    I’m so glad to have found your web page. My pal mentioned it to me before, yet never got around to checking it out until now. I must express, I’m floored. I really enjoyed reading through your posts and will absolutely be back to get more.

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