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– You started doing ballet very early in your childhood and your whole life is connected with dance. Please tell us about the “routs” of this relation. Are you coming from a “ballet” family? Was there someone who inspired you and supported in your decisions?
– No, I didn’t come from a “ballet family”. My parents really didn’t know anything about the art form when they took me to my first ballet class. However I come from a very arts based and hard working family and from day one they have supported me 100% with both my career choices in ballet and photography. My parents were very dedicated to supporting my ballet. They would drive me all over the country so that I could attend the best ballet schools in Australian. They even travelled to the UK so I could attend the Royal Ballet School’s Summer program at 12 years of age. Then again at 15 so that I could audition for the senior school, spending all their savings to do so. To see their dedication and their support of me was, and still is, a huge motivation and inspiration to me. Another huge and significant inspiration throughout my time in ballet were my teachers. I was lucky enough to have some of the most amazing, dedicated and hard working teachers a young ballet student could ask for. All of them shaped me into not only the dancer I became but also the photographer I am now. Three of them in particular: one was my very first ballet teacher, she saw my potential in that very first class and supported me till my very last day as a dancer. She was kind and sweet, yet tough, and was the reason I fell in love with ballet. Second was my level 5 teacher at the Australian Ballet School; she was Russian and her passion for her students was absolutely inspiring. But most of all she gave me the passion to keep going after a hard time with an ankle injury. She still supports me to this day with my career as a photographer. Finally, my very last teacher before I changed careers, was a huge inspiration. She had just moved from China to teach at the Australian Ballet School and was in her 70s, yet her age didn’t stop her. Her energy would fill the classroom every time she entered it. She was tough and expected your full dedication in not only every class but every step. I became the dancer I had always dreamed of becoming under her guidance and training, and I couldn’t have asked for more.
– How did you “switch” to photography? Did you shoot ballet from the beginning of your career in photography?
– I switched to photography after a career ending injury at 18 years old. I had received a camera that year for my birthday and had been playing with it throughout my time off in rehabilitation for my injury. I would walk past a photography collage every day to get to ballet and found myself applying for it one day after releasing it was time to leave ballet behind. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the collage.
I spent most of my years as a photography student focusing on fashion and commercial photography, wanting to leave the ballet world behind to try something new. I ended up majoring in commercial photography and graduated at the top of my class. However not long after graduating I found myself drawn to the ballet world once more and have been photographing ballet ever since and absolutely love it! It’s my way of still being a part of the ballet world without dancing.
– What is your secret to successful collaboration with dancers as models?
– Trust!!! It’s what is most imported to my photography. Having the dancer’s trust is the difference between a good photo and having a mesmerising, beautiful piece of artwork. Trust is something that comes with time. So having a good relationship with the dancer is immensely important to me.
– Tell us about your preferences as a photographer. Studios or outdoors, colour or black and white, strict planning or improvisation?
– I love working in the studio. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to technique and lighting (the ballet dancer coming out in me) plus I love creating something out of nothing. The studio is a blank canvas and I can create anything I want to. I can create a set full of things if I wish or just work with the lighting and the dancer’s body; I just love it! However I am currently on a mission to find beautiful locations for an upcoming series, which I am very excited about.
I enjoy both colour and black and white; it all comes down to the dancer and feel of the shoot. I always plan a shoot however only on a basic level. I believe it’s really important to have the freedom to see what happens on the day and be inspired by the dancer and their personality to create the powerful images. Each dancer is always very different from the last and I love that. I always feel that strict over-planning stifles you from the magic that can happen on set. It’s also important to work with the dancer’s ideas and what they see for themselves.
– If you could chose any figure in the world of dance (even from the past) who would you like to work with?
– There are too many! I love working with dancers from all walks of life. However if I was to combine my ballet hero with my photography, one dancer that stands out to me would be Alessandra Ferri. She was my idol from a very young age and I have adored her ever since. She is such an inspiration and to do a full editorial series with her and to collaborate with her would be a dream come true! She amazes me. Plus those feet!!!!!
– Your advice for young photographers who are thinking of working with dancers
– Once again I will say build trust with your dancer, it’s most important. Also technique is very important to dancers, so not only must you be on top of your photography technique, your understanding of ballet technique is just as important!! It’s a combination of all these things that creates beautiful ballet photography. Also work fast, listen to your dancer and light well!![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50910″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50911″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50913″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50915″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50916″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50917″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50918″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Dancers: Richard House, Kristy Lee Denovan, Alexander Baden Bryce, Saranja Crowe, Sophie Rose Zoričić, Nathan Scicluna
All photographs by ©Taylor-Ferné Morris. Anna Pavlova Network 2017, all rights reserved[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]