Dear Jan, how and when did your relationship with dance photography begin?
I have already started a longterm cooperation with dancers a few years ago. It was a special kind of dance – pole dance. Pole dancers amazed me, because they are capable of beating the gravity and other physical laws. Nevertheless Ballet is a queen of dance and I always used to be fascinated by the way ballerinas move. Naturally, it was also always my wish and so to say need to create a piece of art in cooperation with them.
What do you consider to be the most difficult part in this kind of work?
Usually the most difficult is to arrange the first shooting. Sometimes it is very hard to explain photos in words and it becomes even harder when You make pictures using a complicated technique and you also shoot only nudes on top of it. You have to show the model that these nude pictures will not harm her professional career and also that the results will be worth the effort.
Models who are also dancers – how can you characterise them?
Beautiful, elegant and having a complete control of their bodies. These models can be an incredible inspiration for us photographers, painters, sculptors etc., in one word – artists.
How do you prepare yourself and the models for the work? Do you discuss the artistic idea of your collaboration before?
My photos are exposed on long time, so I also prepare my models to be able to hold the poses still for somewhere around about 20-30 seconds. Thats what must be discussed the most – selection of poses. For example we are very limited in poses like jumps.
Do you set up any rules?
Well yes, I set up dress code. I am the nude photographer, so the dress code for model is usually the undress code.
When do you chose color and when black and white and why?
My core work is B/W. In color I shoot only once or twice per year. usually in spring or autumn when the nature colors are the best
How should your ideal dance shoot be like?
Maybe on the stage of a beautiful old theatre somewhere in the world.
In which direction would you like to grow as a “dance photographer”? Do you consider this field of work as one of the most important for you?
Yes I would like to continue with dancers, they are great. Maybe later in future I would like to move to aquabellas, but it can be difficult. Perhaps I would like to make a book of dance photos, more styles of dance.
Your “teachers” in photography, among artists of the past and the present.
I think I cant say anybody was my teacher of photography. I feel more or less self educated. My most favorite photographer is Jeanloupe Sieff.
You shoot in a very particular manner….tell us more about your style in photography and how you see it.
My style is a very old technique called Light painting or Luminography. The basic is long time exposure, darkness and small source of light that can be moved like e.g. flashlight. With this flashlight I make light traces on the model like with paintbrush on the canvas. The traces are all recorded on the film.
Please introduce your latest artistic dance related project to Anna pavlova network audience.
Game of light and shade on the dancers body, mirror and surrounding space. Please enjoy!
Jan Mlčoch especially for Anna Pavlova Network, All rights reserved.