"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells the less you know" -Diane Arbus

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gabriel Beinczycki

To me, Gabriel Beinczycki is probably of the most inspirational dance photographers of my list. Why? Because he is a FREELANCE photographer, who had now sprung is own booming business of dance photography and portfolio design, sort like what I talked about ealier.

Being the unique character that he is, Beinczycki is fluent in both English and Polish, and is operational in German, French, and Russain.

He studied, the cello and piano at Primary Music School from 1987-1993, ballet and modern dance at the National Ballet School in Poland from 1993-199, modern dance at Marah School of Dance from 1999-2000.

Beinczycki’s company is called Zebra Visual. In the past he had worked with Little Films, Becky Stendal Productions, Joseph Hudson/ACME Productions, Tri-Films Productions, Cardinal Films, Mary Pomerantz Advertising, Dance Advance, Comcast, Pennsylvania Ballet, Princeton University, Dance Magazine, and Oaks Productions.

His photographs are a great example of things you can do post-production. You can tell by looking at any of his collections that he is a fan of both photoshop and lightroom

What Beinczycki does best is create a powerful scene, and put motion into it. He has many collections where he had created these elaborate sets and placed dancers into them in the most unsuspecting ways. Some of them reflect certain time eras, or a certain time in our lifespan, some look urban while looks look fancy. Then when they dancers do their “thing” on the set, the set comes to life and the avant guard image is created. His photographer give what I call “the big picture”.

Beinczycki also does a lot of studio work similar to what Lois Greenfield did in her day. There are simple plain backgrounds, usually black or white and bright lights to illuminate the dancers body. He captures not just these seemingly impossible movements from the dancers, but this entirely new dramatic almost cinema-esque feel in his studio work. When you see his work, it feels like it’s a poster, or a still out of a movie.

If you’d like to take a look at Beinczycki’s photography check him out at http://www.zebravisual.com/movement/index.html

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bruce Monk

Bruce Monk’s photography is most definitely one-of-a-kind. His unique classy ghost-like style is recognizable worldwide. He is internationally known, having his work displayed in many famous art galleries. His work has also earned itself a permanent spot in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

You could say that Monk has gotten around in his lifespan, and it probably one of the most successful dance photographers considering the wide variety of work he had done. Monk is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and a photographer.

Monk graduated from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and taught at the school in the Professional Division for twenty-three years. His choreography has appeared in movies such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Two For the Money”.

His interest in photography began when he saw firsthand the short lifespan of photographic materials. After three years of diligent studying he produced a Platinum print that will withstand the test of time.

Monk’s photographs have a certain light and eerie essence to them. He does a good deal of experimental photography, like multi-frame shots. He takes several pictures on one frame making the subjects nearly see-through allowing you to see the background and other object faintly through the body of the dancer.

He also plays around with silhouettes. Monk will purposed block out all detail of the main subject to purely show the outward shape of the performer and giving faint detail in the background.

A staple of his photography is the grainy almost foggy. It seems as if there is a cloud, smoke, or smog surrounded his subjects or lingering in the background. He uses grainy film or ISO settings, and it gives his photographs a very classy almost 1920’s style.

One aspect of Monk’s photography that sets him apart from many other dance photographers is his post production work. In coherence with his eerie style, some of his photographs are taken and turned in to the negative form. The photograph is turned inside out, and subjects have lessened details and take on a bright white color in comparison to his stark black background.

If you’d like to check out his work visit http://brucemonk.com/thumbs1.html

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When the words "dance photography" are said, the first name that should always come to mind is Lois Greenfield. Greenfield's goal in life was to be a photojournalist for National Geographic. After graduating from Brandeis University in 1970, she began working towards this goal by working freelance for Boston's counter-cultural newspapers. One assignment she received was to photograph a dance concert. She found this task quite difficult given the unpredictable movements of the dancers. After a while, Greenfield felt that she got the hang of it, and actually found herself very intrigued by the subject themselves. She had been captivated by the idea of only needing to worry about visual interest while photographing dancers, and not some sort of editorial relevancy.
Greenfield set the foundation for this circular understanding of dancer inspiring photographer, and photographer inspiring dancer. She asked her subjects to simply free style, no set choreography. She wanted them to dance from within, to experiment with their own bodies, to use what they've trained for and to push themselves. As they took this direction they found themselves in this unique wholesome state in which each move they made couldn't be repeated. It was pure expression through their bodies.

Being both a photographer and a dancer I feel this this combination of arts is beautiful match. Dancers use their bodies as an instrument of expression, just as a painter uses a paint brush. They train their bodies in a technical fashion only so that when perfection is nearly achieved, they can break the bounds of their classical training. They can experiment, and indulge in whatever their imagination inquiries.

Now this where photographers enter to make this magnificent duo complete. When dancers perform each movement they make is simply a movement is passing to create the larger idea of the entire routine. The naked cannot see each move, position, and frame the dancer makes, it is seemingly fluid movement. However, in order to make their movements so fluid and graceful there are basic move by move frames each dancer is hitting mentally, and that is what the photographer captures. This moment that would have passed by with grace if not captured on camera, where it will now radiate for eternity.

Greenfield captured these moments with a weightless, nearly angelic fashion. As the dancers pushed themselves, she captured them frame by frame is these seemingly impossible positions. Frozen in the air however, we can get a more extensive look into the beauty and strength of each dance. They almost become like these ideally sculpted statues in mid-air.

The white background in Greenfield's pictures gives the dancer a blank canvas to express themselves. She has no control over what the dancer does, and has no expectation for what they will do. She is simply inspired to capture this unique form of art, and sees each and every beautiful move. She takes the picture so that the four corners of the camera's frame are honing in on all the energy the dancer is exuding. The end result. Magic

If you'd like to check out any of Lois Greenfields pieces of work you can find them at