Much of the 1990s for me was taken up with being a ballet parent. My daughter was in Minnesota Dance Theater’s school and was eligible to be in the companies’ wonderful presentation of The Nutcracker. As a volunteer parent I had the opportunity to take photos of the students and professional dancers for press release. That lead to some interesting opportunities for great images as well as other opportunities to work with dancers.
There were a few non-Nutcracker shows that I photographed as well.
I feel honored and lucky to have worked with some really wonderful, talented dancers and to be able to work with MDT’s creative director, Lise Houlton.
About the Images
All of my dance shoots were done on film because these were shot before digital was available. This meant anything you shot had to be planned and needed more deliberate intention, including timing. You couldn’t just keep shooting like you can with digital. I used both 35mm and medium format 6×7 to shoot these images.
In the late nineties I had the opportunity to photograph three women who were fitness competitors. At the time of our shoot these women were at their peak fitness with the goal of being at 5% body fat. I found photographing them very exciting, a great figure photography experience. Muscular bodies offer a great opportunity for showing skin texture through dramatic lighting. When photographing skin, darker tones are more interesting, especially on muscular bodies. Curves, bumps, ripples and texture are all more prominent.
At 5% body fat I have heard that most people are in a crabbier mood a lot of the time from being hungry. Even so, these women were perfectly nice to me.
My lighting consisted of two softboxes on either side of the set which provided the main light. An umbrella behind the camera provided fill light. These images were of course shot on film. For these and other portraits I would under expose and over develop the film for more contrast.