Monday, 2 March 2015

David Moses - Photographing a dancer with one light

I have photographed many subjects in my career.  But none quite so fascinating as dancers.  Their ability to be by turns delicate, tough, unexpected and, frankly, impossible makes the pictures you create very special indeed.

You see it’s all about what is unsaid, unseen and only hinted at.  So how do you photograph them then?  Fortunately for photographers, all the hard work is done by the dancer (in this case, Molly).  Dancers can communicate ideas and emotions in a uniquely visual way, which is why photographers love working with them.  The Herzogian ecstatic truth is far more interesting than any mere absolute truth.

The actual details of how to photograph it seem humdrum when compared the sublime, but that’s what photographers are for.  So I chose a single speedlight off camera, held by an assistant.  I like this setup because it allows me to be quick and mobile.

This was an especial advantage because the weather was freezing cold and pouring with rain (we had to wait and catch the breaks).  Molly was wrapped up in a huge dressing gown and wellies to keep dry and warm :)

I have a huge amount of respect for how hard dancers work.  Repeated explosions of energy in a graceful manner are exhausting but Molly never complained once.  In fact I've never come across a dancer who has shied away from effort.

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