Irina Mattioli about the Anna Pavlova Contest 2016 winning image

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A few years ago, in a nice sunny Sunday, I asked my two dancers friends Francesco and Alessandro and my friend Martina to join me, in order to realize an outdoor ballet shooting in the mountains.
Martina, who is one of my oldest and dearest friend, was there to help me whit the smoke bombs that I brought – so as to create an eerie, timeless atmosphere – and the two guys where obviously there to model for me. I was very close to Alessandro, with whom I was studying ballet since we were teenagers and, in that occasion, I had the chance to get to know better Francesco, that in those days was attending the National Ballet Academy in Rome. The guys have been amazing: without any hesitation, they naturally started to dance in front of me, barefoot on the wood’s ground. One of the resulting pictures is the one that – with my surprise – allowed me to win the first place at the Anna Pavlova Ballet Photography Contest 2016.

Apollo e Dafne - foto Irina Mattioli (3)


The place chosen for the shooting it has not been random, in fact – apart from being a place of beauty and peace – It has a peculiar value to me. It is located in Valnerina (Umbria, Italy), nearby the village from which my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents and my great-great-grandparents are from: the pine grove of Capodacqua di Postignano, near Sellano. It was actually one of the favorite places of my grand-mother Maria Adelaide and I am truly happy that it ended up being scene of such an amazing personal reward.

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The dancer portrayed in the winning picture is Francesco Arduino Leone, he firstly trained at the Hungarian National Dance Academy and then at the National Dance Academy in Rome. He is now a dancer in the renowned company “Le Supplici” lead by Fabrizio Favale, with which he will soon exhibit in the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon.
The other dancer, unfortunately underrepresented in this very shoot (you can just see his harm), is my dear friend Alessandro Sebastiani. He is an extraordinary dancer that began his training with me at Spazio Danza (Foligno), and then carried on with his studies firstly graduating at the Codars Rotterdam Dance Academy (Netherlands), and then at the National Dance Academy in Rome, where a both human and artistic empathy with the well-known choreographer Laura Martorana allowed him to develop his talent abroad, at Santiago de Chile, where he now lives and works.

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Qualche anno fa, in una domenica di bel tempo, ho chiamato i miei due amici e ballerini Francesco ed Alessandro e la mia amica Martina con l’intenzione di realizzare uno shooting di danza all’aperto, in montagna.
Martina, che è una delle mie più care e vecchie amiche, era lì per darmi una mano con i fumogeni che avevo portato – per creare un’atmosfera fuori dal tempo – e i due ragazzi per farmi da modelli. Conoscevo molto bene Alessandro,  che studiava danza con me da quando eravamo al liceo e in quell’occasione ho approfondito anche la conoscenza di Francesco, che allora studiava a Roma. I ragazzi sono stati stoici, senza esitare hanno iniziato a ballare scalzi, davanti al mio obiettivo, nella pineta.  Uno degli scatti risultanti è quello che – con mia sorpresa – ha vinto il primo posto all’Anna Pavlova Ballet Photography Contest 2016.

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Il luogo scelto per ambientare gli scatti non è stato casuale, oltre ad essere un’oasi di bellezza e di pace, per me ha un valore particolare. Si trova in Valnerina (Umbria), nei pressi del paese dove sono nati e cresciuti i miei genitori, i miei nonni, i miei bisnonni e i miei trisavoli: la pineta di Capodacqua di Postignano, vicino Sellano. Era uno dei posti preferiti di mia nonna Maria Adelaide e sono felice che abbia finito per contribuire ad  una soddisfazione così grande.

Il danzatore ritratto nello scatto vincitore del concorso è Francesco Arduino Leone, formatosi prima all’Hungarian National Dance Academy e successivamente presso l’Accademia Nazionale di Danza a Roma. Da due anni balla per  la prestigiosa compagnia “Le Supplici” di Fabrizio Favale, che prossimamente si esibirà anche alla Biennale Danza di Lione.
L’altro ballerino, purtroppo sottorappresentato in questo scatto (si coglie solo il braccio), è il mio caro amico Alessandro Sebastiani, un danzatore straordinario che ha iniziato la sua formazione con me presso la scuola Spazio Danza di Foligno ed ha proseguito i suoi studi laureandosi prima al Codarts Rotterdam Dance Academy in Olanda, poi all’Accademia Nazionale di Danza di Roma dove la sintonia umana ed artistica con la nota coreografa Laura Martorana gli ha consentito di  sviluppare il suo talento all’estero fino a Santiago del Cile, dove vive e lavora tutt’oggi. 

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Alessio Lupo. Interview. Exclusive Anna Pavlova Contest shooting

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]How can you describe your style in photography?

In some way I can say that I am still looking for my own style in photography…. I like telling  an emotional  story, find a special message in every dancer’s movement and let it go right to the heart of those who see my work. Our lives are too chaotic and they are passing too quickly. I try to “freeze”some precious moments and make them last forever.

Come potrebbe descrivere il Suo stile fotografico?

In effetti sono ancora alla ricerca di un mio stile… posso dire che mi piace raccontare un’emozione, tirar fuori delle movenze di ogni ballerino/a un messaggio che giunge dritto al cuore. Conduciamo una vita frenetica che va avanti troppo velocemente. Con i miei scatti cerco semplicemente di “congelare” istanti preziosi per farli durare in eterno.

 

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Your  mode of working with models – have you found it or does it change constantly?

I don’t believe that there exists a “manual for young dance photographers”.  You can only do your best to find a feeling that helps you approach every dancer in a personal way. That’s why the way of working  with dancers changes and depends on what type of person you are working with.  It can change to make each  shooting a beautiful experience  for all the participants.

Come ha trovato il Suo proprio modo di lavorare con danzatori? Oppure si cambia sempre?

Penso che non esiste “il manuale del giovane fotografo per danzatori” ma bisogna raggiungere quel feeling che ti permette poi di poter fare uscire il meglio di ogni danzatore. Quindi si cambia sempre in relazione alla persona con cui ti stai rapportando cercando di rendere lo shooting un momento goliardico da ricordare con piacere.

 

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Are there strict rules in photography for you?

Yes, the rules do exist.  Yet they can be departed from  once in a while, for the sake of originality and, why not, in order to find your own style in photography. I have to admit that I have taken some dance classes also, for better understanding of the theme and my models, and to be able to recognize when the foot is in the “right” position and when there is a better moment to make a shoot.

Esistono le regole assolute della fotografia di danza per Lei?

Le regole ci sono ma è anche bello trasgredire per ottenere risultati originali (e perché no, per cercare un proprio stile). Però ammetto che ho dovuto fare qualche lezione di danza anche per capire il momento utile per scattare oppure riconoscere un piede corretto o meno…

 

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How do you think your art will be changing with time?

I am fascinated by creative movement and improvisation and I have also several long time projects. Definitely  my curiosity and experimenting with new techniques will help me grow.

Come secondo Lei si cambierà la Sua arte col tempo?

sono affascinato dal mosso creativo ed anche dai progetti a lungo termine. Di certo il tempo e la curiosità a sperimentare nuove tecniche mi aiuteranno a cresce e migliorare.

 

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How and when have you decided to become a photographer?

I swear that I have not decided anything! One day my friend Fabio gave me his camera (I believe it was a Nicon d80) and asked me to make some photos. Obviously I didn’t know the rules of photography, I just tried to catch what I liked best and what of this moment I wanted to remain with us. My friends liked the pictures very much. After that I was happy to meet such wonderful photographers as Giovanni Tidona, Silvio Rizzo, Daniele Cascone, Marcello Bocchieri, Roberta Tocco, Massimo Pantano, Dario Broch Ciaros and others who were very kind to  me and introduced me to their techniques and different methods of this passionate art.

Quando e come ha deciso di diventarsi fotografo?

non l’ho deciso, giuro! Un giorno il mio amico Fabio mi ha messo una macchina fotografica (ricordo una nikon d80) e mi ha chiesto di fare foto, ovviamente non ho rispettato nessuna regola ma ho inquadrato soltanto ciò che mi affascinava in quel momento e quegli scatti sono piaciuti. In seguito nel mio cammino ho avuto la fortuna di incontrare validi fotografi disponibili e gentili come Giovanni Tidona, Silvio Rizzo, Daniele Cascone, Marcello Bocchieri, Roberta Tocco, Massimo Pantano, Dario Broch Ciaros e tanti altri  i quali mi hanno in un modo o nell’altro insegnato tecniche e metodi di questa appassionante arte.

 

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Is there a dancer of your dream with whom you would like to collaborate? Is there a location that you would love to work in?

I haven’t  found my one and only Dancer yet, maybe because I like all the dancers with whom I work. My aim is to give more value to my local reality, distinguish  the talents that I have close to me working with the schools and collectives of my Ragusa region. The ideal location for me is every ancient Sicilian theatre and there are many of them where I live and work. They are beautiful, each one is different and makes a perfect frame for a dancer.

Esiste il ballerino oppure la ballerina dei Suoi sogni, con chi vorrebbe collaborare di più? Il luogo dove Le piacerebbe fare shooting fotografico?

Sono alla ricerca del ballerino o ballerina dei miei sogni (anche perché mi piacciono tutti) ed allo stesso tempo vorrei valorizzare i talenti della mia realtà locale fotografandoli con uno stile consono alla loro particolarità artistica come un pittore dipinge la sua tela, perciò mi piacerebbe collaborare con tutte le scuole della mia provincia (Ragusa). Il luogo dove vorrei fare shooting è in tutti i teatri antichi siciliani nella mia zona ne esistono parecchi e tutti particolari ad un ballerino o ballerina farebbero da cornice.
Where do you find your inspiration?

My wife is a pianist and I am inspired by the notes that she plays.

Dove Lei trova la Sua ispirazione?

Nelle splendide note eseguite da mia moglie (ho sposato una pianista).
What is Dance for you?

It’s a Feeling that goes to the soul through the music and movements of the dancers….Emotion. When I see a great ballerina who doesn’t bring emotions, she remains just another great ballerina. But if a dancer succeeds in giving movement and sentiment to the music, what she does  becomes the Dance.

Cos’è Danza per Lei?

Sentimento che giunge dritto all’anima attraversando la musica per mezzo dei movimenti dei danzatori. Emozione. Se vedo una ballerina brava ma non mi emoziona rimane una brava ballerina e basta ma se riesce a dare un sentimento alla musica o un movimento alla musica allora quella è Danza.

 

Who do you consider the best dance photographer?

I would say there are many very good dance photographers, everyone with his own style. Lately, an Italian photographer Luigi Abbondanza has been creating astonishing things  on the theme of water reflections and  you can see his more traditional dance images that are very interesting as well.

Esiste un fotografo chi Lei considera il migliore in questo campo?

ne conosco diversi tutti bravissimi nel loro stile… Ultimamente Luigi Abbondanza mi sta stupendo sempre di più con le sue creazioni riflesse sull’acqua ma giornalmente vedo nuove bellissime foto realizzate in modo magistrale.

 

Your advice to young photographers who want to shoot dance.

Take a course of ballet and find a dance school that will “adopt” you and trust everything else to come along.

Un consiglio ai fotografi giovani chi stanno per lavorare con danzatori.

fatevi un corso di danza e poi trovate una scuola di danza disponibile ad adottarvi il resto abbiate fiducia arriverà da se.

 

Three words that can describe you as a photographer

Curiosity, sentimentality and modesty because in my field there is always something new to learn.

Tre parole con quali si può caretterizzarLa come fotografo.

Curiosità, sentimento ed umiltà perché in questo settore non si smette mai d’imparare e anche un osservatore può essere utile a migliorarti.

 

Dancer: Federica Arezzi

Choreographer: Saveria Tumino

Assistant: Andrea Panuzzo

Location: Progetto Danza Ragusa -IT

 

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Gabriel Davalos. Cuba

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]How can you describe your style in photography?

I don´t even think about a proper style. My pictures are the way to express myself. What I feel:

my longing, my wishes, my happiness, my sadness. If they have a style it should be the way I

understand the life. My style is me, my people, my culture, my country.

 

Ni siquiera pienso en un estilo propio. Mis fotografías son mi forma de expresión. Reflejo de mis

sentidos: mis nostalgias, mis deseos, mis alegrías, mis tristezas. Si tienen algún estilo: es solo la

forma en que entiendo la vida: mi estilo soy yo, es mi gente, mi cultura, mi país.

 

Movement and passion - Gabriel Davalos - First International Ballet Photography Contest Anna Pavlova (2)

 

 

What are the specifics of your work?

I just need complicity, passion, motivation. I don´t take pictures of the body, I try to get the

essence. It is a constant search about the beauty in the secret world of each dancer.

 

Solo necesito complicidad, pasión, motivación. Porque no tomo fotos de cuerpos. Intento

fotografiar la esencia. Es la búsqueda constante de la belleza en el mundo íntimo y a veces

inaccesible de las almas que habitan temporalmente esos cuerpos tan físicos.

 

Gabriel Davalos per Essence13

 

What are the “laws” of ballet photography for you?

I have a holy rule: each picture has to seduce me, shake every part of my flesh and bones, only this way I can

feel complete . The picture that does not move me, I´d rather not to take it.

 

Tengo una regla que nunca violo: cada foto que tomo debe seducirme, estremecer cada parte

de mi carne y espíritu. Solo así siento me siento pleno. La imagen que no me conmueve,

prefiero no tomarla.

 

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How do you think your photography will be changing with time?

Life is a continuos change. Transformation is growing up. I don´t know how is gonna be the

future. But I am a deep revolutionary. My camera and my way of thinking will be united. I will build my way

walking.

 

La vida es dialéctica constante. Renovarse es crecer. No sé cómo será el futuro. Pero soy un

revolucionario profundo. Cámara y pensamiento, iremos juntos. Se hace camino al andar.

 

Gabriel Davalos per Essence14

 

What is your professional goal? Who is the dancer of your dream?

More than a goal, I have a place that I always wants to touch: people’s heart. When my pictures

get connected with  with the feeling of the people who see them, they “spring their wings”, leave me behind to go to all the

people who open their heart to them. Obtaining this  there makes me feel really happy.

The dancer of my dreams is the dancer of all days: Grettel Morejon; Principal dancer of the

National Ballet of Cuba. She has been with me, exactly from the first picture.

 

Más que una meta, tengo un lugar a donde siempre quiero llegar: al corazón de la gente.

Cuando una foto conecta con los sentimientos de las personas, abren las alas y dejan de ser

mías para ser de todo aquel que les abre su corazón. No hay nada que me haga más feliz, que

llegar hasta allí.

Tengo el privilegio de que la bailarina de mis sueños, es la bailarina de todos mis días. Mi

bailarina cotidiana, no deja de ser extraordinaria: Grettel Morejón, Bailarina principal del Ballet

Nacional de Cuba, me ha acompañado exactamente desde la primera foto.

 

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration is  everywhere: the people, the city, our history, the feelings… life the ways it is;

with white and black swans.

 

La inspiración está en todos lados: en la gente, en la ciudad, en la historia, en los sentimientos…

en la vida cual es, con sus cisnes blancos, y los negros.

 

Movement and passion - Gabriel Davalos - First International Ballet Photography Contest Anna Pavlova (3)

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Photographer BAKI about his “UNDER” Series

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Under Series is a part of “Project VISION”

I could define the project VISION with those words: Imagination, a Change of Perspective, and Vision (Fantasy) about an ObjectNow, as for Under series;One day, I saw a tutu laid on floor upside down. Various colors were mingled and layered in that tutu, and that makes me think of flowers. There, a tutu started to turn into a flower that I haven’t seen before. Then I was wondering what if I create things from different perspective like, under: Looking at things from under. And then I was also wondering what people would think of and how they feel about my creation from different perspective. I wanted to share the thoughts and imagination.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”48953″ media_width_percent=”70″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”48954″ media_width_percent=”70″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”48955″ media_width_percent=”70″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”48962″ media_width_percent=”70″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”48963″ media_width_percent=”70″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Régine Temam. Interview

RÉGINE TEMAM
ANNA PAVLOVA BALLET PHOTOGRAPHY
CONTEST FINALIST 2016

Régine Temam lives and works in a very special place. She is from Paris.
Her photography is exquisite, chick, stylish, unusual and…black and white without compromises.
Régine’s “story” with photography began in 1991 absolutely by chance, or should we say by destiny? First she experimented with street photography and later she “discovered” a theme of female portraits in her art. Photographing dancers at rehearsals and on stage came naturally after that because Régine always was a passionate ballet lover.

 

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How can you describe your style in photography?

– I would say I am a classical and figurative photographer. I take what I see, preferably completely natural, without any special effects. Sober and to the point.

What are the specifics of working with dancers as models for you?

– I have been an amateur dancer for quite a while myself, so I know the positions, working at the barre, which gives me the advantage of being in a way an insider in the world of ballet. Added to that, I have seen most ballets in the repertoire and I am familiar with their career paths.

With the model you have chosen, I told her what she had to do (I was in Vienna then and she performs in Vienna) : I asked her for “a grand écart”, made my own composition by putting
a white sheet on the floor. She did beautifully what I asked her to do and I did a whole series with her within quite a short time.
I made many portraits of Sabine (her name) and we have been very good friends ever since.

 

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What are the “laws” of ballet photography for you? Do you ever break them? Do they exist at all?

– Preferably black and white. Cropping and perspective are my fundamentals. I tend to prefer taking pictures of female dancers to male
dancers because women have a mirror effect on me. I have also taken photos of many male dancers whilst rehearsing and performing.
I draw a distinction between models who pose for me and dancers of whom I take pictures when they perform, unbeknowst to them. When
they pose for me, I tend to direct them : ask them for a “pirouette”, a “grand écart”, a “demi-plié”. When I am working whilst they are
rehearsing, I keep shooting as much as I can while my mind has a very clear idea of the scene I want to create. Back at home,
I sort out the shots and choose the best.
On stage, I also use colour but I must say, this is not my favourite aspect.

Actually, I never break my own rules. The laws do exist indeed but they are not written : they are ingrained in me, like the rules of choreography.

Do you like trying new techniques and approaches in photography?

– No, I don’t. I am of the old school so much so that I was very reluctant to go digital. It was not until
2006 that I bought a digital bridge camera, convinced by a friend. To this day, I don’t see digital photography as
“real photography”. I want and use a traditional camera, and still use black and white films in the manual mode.

Who is the dancer of your dream? The location?

Baryshnikov! I discovered him 40 odd years ago in the Turning point. The location : New York
Way back in 1978, I had spent a month in L.A. and on my way back home (to Paris), I stopped over at
Kennedy airport. I had to wait for seven hours. I found the book “the Turning Point” and read it compulsively.
I didn’t look at my watch until boarding time.

New York because last May, I attented the ABT Silver Jubilee at the Lincoln Center. The weather was gorgeous.
VIPs galore and I shot and shot. My dearest niece who lives and works there, whom I had visited, took pictures
of me and I look glamourous, I guess because I was so happy.

 

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Where do you find your inspiration?

– Two components : 1) The beauty and perfection of dancers; 2) My passion for ballet.

What attracts you more in ballet as a photographer – dancers’ everyday work and routine or the “glittering” performance part?

Definitely, the everyday work and routine, ie for me black and white and the real work.
Glittering is definitely not my cup of tea and it means colour.
One example : I was once on a cruise in the Mediterranean and – something I didn’t know when I registered – they had some dancers from the Paris Opera
Corps de ballet. They were rehearsing daily on the boat. I never missed one single session, with my Nikon F90. I must have used some 10 films at least.
The last day, was performance day and it was dull compared to the magic of rehearsing sessions.

Who were your teachers? Do you ever ask advises of other photographers?

– I guess you mean my teachers of photography. But first things first : my ballet teachers were a couple of white Russians in Tunis where
I was born and grew up. During the class at the bar, I would look and “penetrate” all black and white photographs on the wall of Lycette Darsonval,
Liane Daydé, Janine Charrat, Milorad Miskovitch, Anna Pavlova, one of the first prima ballerina dancing on pointes with what used to be still almost
“demi-pointes”, Margot Fonteyn.

Now , to come back to your question, I had one teacher whom I’ll name V.S. to preserve his identity. He was a photographer and gave me just
a few tips. For the remainder, when I started in 1990, the preparatory work had been done unconsciously for at least two decades.
I don’t ask advice of other photographers. Mind you I followed a one-day course at Harcourt-Studios and one course on photo development.
My teachers are also the many photo exhibitions I have attended.

Your own advice to those who are thinking of shooting dance for the first time.

– Practise and love ballet and black & white and the rest will come naturally.

 

 

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©ANNA PAVLOVA ASSOCIATION. All rights reserved.

Evgeniya Pirshina. Interview

EVGENIYA PIRSHINA
ANNA PAVLOVA BALLET PHOTOGRAPHY
CONTEST FINALIST 2016

Evgeniya Pirshina, Ballet and Theatre photographer from Moscow, has succeeded in so many artistic fields that it is hard to describe in one short article.
Since 2006 she was a singer at Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre in Moscow. This is already enough for a beautiful full time career, but not for Evgeniya!
She began shooting performances, has reached a very high professional level in it and now she is an official photographer of Festival Context Diana, Musical Theatre of Stanislavsky, Festival of Contemporary Dance Prisma. Also, she is the creator of the project “The Story of the Theatre” in which photographs of worldwide known artists are presented.

 

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How can you describe your style in photography?
Defined forms and clean lines.

What are the specifics of working with dancers as models for you?
We must be on the same wave to achieve great results.
Is it important to understand and know ballet to succeed in stage photography?
Yes, but if you have an eye for photography you can learn it.
Who were your teachers? Do you still seek their advice?
My intuition and my husband. Both are good advisers.

 

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Color or Black and White and why?
I only use color when it makes the picture.

Do you try to get to know your models and their story or this only distracts you from work?
It distracts me.
What are your professional goals?
To be represented at the best galleries and museums around the world.
Who is the dancer of your dream?
Diana Vishneva

Where do you find your inspiration?
Great classical music

Your advice to those who are thinking of shooting ballet for the first time.
Have fun in the process and don`t forget that extra battery!

 

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©ANNA PAVLOVA ASSOCIATION. All rights reserved.

Han Balk. Interview

HAN BALK
ANNA PAVLOVA BALLET PHOTOGRAPHY
CONTEST MAGIC ON STAGE CATEGORY WINNER 2016

Han Balk from The Netherlands is Magic on Stage category Winner of the Anna Pavlova Ballet Photography Contest 2016.
His experience in photography is very diverse – Han Balk began as a sports photographer working mostly with football and mountain bike racing in the nineties. After a long period without shooting Han has turned back into the world of photography that was drastically different by that time….
Han Balk shot several dance events after he “picked up” his camera again, yet he believes himself to be “pretty new into the ballet photography”.
New or not, we are sure about one thing – fresh, vivid, uncommon images of Han Balk have already gained attention and love of the public.

 

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How can you describe your style in photography?
I don’t think I have a specific style and I don’t want to be pinpointed to a specific style either. I do like clean shots with bokeh backgrounds and I really like black and white photography although the majority of my ballet photos are in colour. I always try to be a little different, an unusual point of view or lens, a lot of backlight, lens flare or a slightly different post-processing. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

What are the specifics of working with dancers as models for you?
Working with dancers has two sides. They want to be perfect and expect you to be the same and push the limits. Working together can be high demanding for dancers and photographers. Sometimes a certain movement or jump needs to be taken over and over again. It can be very frustrating when it doesn’t seem to work out. Both need to maintain their concentration and a regular break can clear the sky.

 

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On the other side dancers are the most perfect models on earth. Who am I to tell them how to pose or move? We only need to discuss the result, because some poses look really great in real life but look less great or even strange on photo. But when you see dancers sharing your photo for example on social media, you can tell yourself you did a descent job.

What are the “laws” of ballet photography for you? Do you ever break them? Do they exist at all?
I hear a lot of people say ballet and photography are made for each other. For me ballet and photography have a love-hate relationship. Photography can show the beauty and the grace of ballet far better than video or the human eye, but it can also reveal the imperfections. The slightest timing mismatch in a group of dancers can look real ugly and ruin your photo. A bad timing of the photographer is even worse. When you shoot an on stage performance you only get one chance. So it all needs to fit together to make a nearly perfect photo. So if there’s a law in ballet photography it should read that it all needs to fit together. I explicitly said nearly because I’m never completely satisfied with my own images, there’s always room for improvement.

How do you think your photography will be changing with time?
As I said, there’s always room for improvement and I can live with the idea that I’ll never make the perfect shot. So be it. Nevertheless I keep trying and improve my photos.

What are your professional goals? Who is the dancer of your dream?
I don’t have a timeline or specific goals. I hope the exposure of the Anna Pavlova Ballet Photo Contest give me the opportunity to shoot more ballet on stage, rehearsals and in the studio too.

I do want to try some different techniques, never or hardly ever used in ballet photography. Maybe something for the Anna Pavlova Ballet Photo Contest 2017.

 

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Although I don’t have any specific dancer in mind, I like to shoot some classical ballet too. We have some excellent performers here in the Netherlands, perhaps someday…

Where do you find your inspiration?
Mostly on the internet. Pintrest is a good tool for this; you can make your own online private scrapbook with photos. I don’t want to copy those images, but use them as a starting point for a moodboard. The final result is a combination of several photos on the moodboard. Or even something different because the idea came up during the shoot.

What attracts you more in ballet as a photographer – dancers’ everyday work and routine or the “glittering” performance part?
For me shooting a real great image during an on stage performance is the best. You’ve got one chance, you need to deal with the on stage light and be in the right position. When you work with 2 cameras you can miss some essential shots because you’re just switching and sometimes you’re just in the wrong position. Modern LED lights look really nice for the human eye, but can be a photographer’s nightmare. That’s all in the game.

Your advice to those who are thinking of shooting dance for the first time.
Your camera equipment can never be the limitation. The photographer is the limitation. Learn how it works and get the best out of your equipment. A new, expensive camera or lens doesn’t make better pictures itself. It’s up to you to do this. Just do it, dare to fail and learn from it.

It’s almost impossible to be completely unique, but dare to be different and don’t care about people who don’t like it because it doesn’t look like the majority.

Show your photos to a dancer and ask her/him what you can do to improve your photos can be frustrating but very helpful too.

 

 

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©ANNA PAVLOVA ASSOCIATION. All rights reserved

Darian Volkova. Interview

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]DARIAN VOLKOVA
ANNA PAVLOVA BALLET PHOTOGRAPHY
CONTEST FINALIST 2016

Darian Volkova is a ballet photographer and professional ballet dancer who lives and works in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This city “breaths” with ballet and Darian knows how to feel and let others feel this “breathing” that surrounds her. “Ballet is my native “environment”, says Darian. Looking at her photos we not only see the beauty of a dancer, the mystery of a great theatre but also the astonishing strength united with some kind of amazing fragility and tenderness that only a ballerina can express. Darian Volkova’s art is not “about” ballet, it is ballet itself.
Anna Pavlova Ballet Photography Contest has chosen Darian Volkova’s black and white portrait “ballerina with a camera” as the official image of the event and it will be printed on the cover of the Book 2016 by the courtesy of the artist.

 

 

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

When I was a child I had a dream to be a teacher as many others. But it wasn’t the only one. Just imagine 3-year-hyperactive-girl. So my mother tried to help me to express my energy and that was the reason why I attended so many additional classes … but the pianist of me did not work, the linguist – too. With dance, I befriended most of all, and everything ran so smoothly and moved in progress that becoming a ballerina goes without saying. But it wasn’t my dream or something else … May be to be a ballet dancer was the first step to my true destination to be a ballet photographer (Laugh ) In any event, I had no idea what kind of work it is.
I began with ballroom dancing, then I went to the first class of the Lyceum of Arts, and classical choreography became an important part of my life which I think will never go. After school I enter to the local Institute of Culture.
When I was in my second year a man from Moscow came to our institute with a master class, and then I realized that outside of Khabarovsk can be much more interesting. I consulted with my teacher, she told me, “Go for it,” and 19- years-old-still-hyperactive-trembling-with-fear-girl left everything and went to St. Petersburg. The leading teacher of the department helped me, and I changed the institute. Here the story begins…

 

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Love what you do and do what you love. ― Ray Bradbury

Hermitage has its own theater, he is called – Hermitage Theatre, where my friend danced in the troupe. Six months later, I jointed it, and in the third year started dancing “Swan Lake”, stormed into play in a week, not even really knowing the order. After that I changed different company, but now I don’t work in any theater in the rate, and for the most part on tour, it can be said to work freelance.
There are such kind of companies which are focused only on tours usually you should monitor them. Then you estimate condition they offer and final step is casting if was lucky enough you’d get your ticket.
But it is very difficult to be in move all the time. Especially when your husband isn’t related with ballet and cannot accompany you.
Of course it’s much more prestigious when you have a permanent job in a theatre but at the moment I’m interested in travelling-kind of work. During my first tour I’ve visited Norway and Denmark and when I was back in St. Petersburg I’ve realized how it’s great to be in condition of journey. Moreover such a job allow you to see different countries without spending much money (Smile)
As a rule ballerinas don’t have a long career. If you began to dance at an early age your time in ballet would come to an end at your thirty-five birthday. On the one hand ten-year-old dancers do incredible things but on the other hand when you’re thirty your movements are deeper and more sensible. May be it’s because at this age your body and mind set up a comprehensive whole.
But still you cannot be Aurora from Sleeping Beauty when you have the face of thirty-five-year-old woman because even make up isn’t able to deceive the audience. I think contemporary art is the best solution in this case because here dancer with classical ballet experience may create a miracle.

 

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Part II . EVEN INSIDE I’M DANCING
“Ballet is good, because it makes you stand up tall.” -Carine Roitfeld

Ballet is very multifaceted art so I cannot say it’s my whole life. I split my life up. There is a ballerina Darian Volkova , there is a ballet photographer Darian Volkova and there is a balletlover Darian Volkova who go to the theater to see performances not to work.
I love my work, it helps me to have both healthy body and mind .thanks to ballet I can express myself and leave my mark in history. The most attractive thing is there isn’t limit for perfection.
You think you can but you always meet people who can more and you begin to stimulate yourself. It’s a kind of inner discipline. Your inspiration suddenly became the most powerful thing and you dance in spite of tiredness. And just two things are on the map you and the audience. To describe me in one sentence ‘ I’m ballet addicted’. If you love ballet there isn’t weekends everything just blend together.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

 

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To stimulate yourself all the time is the best way for building yourself . once teacher said to my “ Now I control you but you don’t understand what happiness it is. But soon you will have to do it yourself.” It’s very true because building yourself is the most difficult part in ballet especially if there isn’t somebody who control you.
You should love what you do this is the formula of success .Some dancers are in corps de ballet for many years. It’s not easy to accept such situation. After graduation everyone has great ambition but it’s not enough. You should have a strong character because ballet can broke not only legs and arms …
As for me I always want to try something new. I don’t want to be limited by profession I prefer to grow within it. Every time I try something new I get added evidence that I don’t have job I have field of activity.

“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” ―Walt Disney

Than smaller theatre always has bigger competition. Recently I’ve talked with ballerina from Bolshoi Theatre I asked her about competition the answer was “There is no competition just working procedure”. I’ve never faced with glass in my pointes but heard about outrageous facts when somebody covered competitor’s dresses with Capsicam the ointment makes your body burn.
Once I had psychological pressure: first people stop to communicate with you then officials begin to think what’s wrong with you. But it’s no matter when you are professional and maintain your reputation.
But still there is friendship. Just imagine you spend practically all your time with these people. They are more than friends they are family you love them and at the same time want to kill them.

 

 

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Part III CARPE DIEM
“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
It’s simple my husband is a photographer. I always loved to watch when Sasha took photos and I thought “ I also can do this”. He gave me film camera and then l lost my money because film expenses were first in my list. I photographed everything I saw, and Sasha asked me “Why don’t you shoot ballet?”. It took me a year to think so in 2013 I made the first step to become a ballet photographer. But at that time I didn’t think that it’s serious . Now I understand I can express something via dance but photography is another view.
Photography is my escape. It helps me fight with tiredness and capture a moment. What is more it gives me an opportunity to communicate with different people ballet dancer cannot always has such ability. Thanks to the photography I can share my own worldview. Here I’m both a photographer and a choreographer.
“When I come into the theatre I get a sense of security.” –
Vivien Leigh
To enter a theatre is easier than it seems. You just need to have ballerina-hair-style, say “Hello” to the guardian and follow your friend who work in this theatre. But sometimes difficulties appear for example in Vaganova Academy electronic admission system was put into operation. But I still know how to enter…
I am always very nervous before such campaigns, what if I disgraced I would never allowed to pass and this is the worst thing to have to go back because I have a camera in my bag a great desire to shoot in my heart.
It was a funny story when one security officer thought I lost my pass at home and let me through.
It’s more difficult to enter the theatre officially . For example to enter Mikhailovsky theatre I connected with PR department so each photo I took is selected for publishing. This theatre cares about its reputation.
Another famous and significant theatre I wanna enter is Bolshoi .But tomorrow is another day.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London

People always inspire me, but I’m not looking for muse . If someone did better than me I would do everything to prove I’m the one. As my husband says my inspiration is in crisis when everything alright I don’t want anything. At this moment instagram stimulates me for example I found beautiful ballet picture I said myself I can do it and may be even better.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
― Allen Saunders

I have a couple of plans but I don’t like to talk about it. Because when I share my plans they never come true. The only thing I can say if I realize what I’ve planned it will be a new level in my ballet-photographer life. Now my great wish is not to be depend on location because my family lives on the Russia Far East and I would like to be available for work in every country in every city. I want to travel to work in different theaters in Russia, Europe and America To give the people an opportunity to see ballet world through my eyes. This year was difficult enough I think that’s why now I wanna do what I love and there isn’t wish to conquer the world. But everything is ahead.

 

©ANNA PAVLOVA ASSOCIATION. All rights reserved

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