A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

I Was There - Arts Umbrella Sunday Performance Series
Sunday, March 01, 2015





In the late 70s I was hired on contract by the CBC to take still photographs of their variety shows. Many were being produced in what was then their brand new headquarters on Hamilton and Georgia. The variety shows featured lots of jazz dancing. The chap in charge of the dancers (a few moonlighted in strip bars) was Jim Hibbard who gave me this for advice, “Never shoot dancers except from the floor. If you can dig a hole to be lower, do so.” By the early 80s there were several photographers vying for jobs at the CBC. One of them had a device called a blimp which enabled him to shoot during quiet tapings. The device enveloped the camera and you could not hear the shutter. At this time I opted to work as a magazine photographer and David Cooper moved to dance and theatre and became the best of his craft in Canada.

Through the years I have had to photograph dancers. I have always chosen to take the route of the portrait. I firmly believe that the former style of shooting dancers in a big studio, frozen in the air in graceful form does not help in the idea that dancers are people (not swans) who fall, sweat and have personality. I like to see the ads in my daily delivered NY Times of the ballet and dance companies in New York. They make their dancers people whom you would want to meet.

With that idea in mind I have been going to the Arts Umbrella Sunday Performance Series with my newish Fuji X-E1. It is my first digital camera and I have still not learned all its peculiarities nor have I ever yet attempted to use its ability to follow focus automatically.

In previous sessions I have used shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 to as low as ¼ of a second. Anybody who has shot sports (and I have) will tell you that at peek movement (when the batter’s bat connects with the ball in baseball) movement is zero. You do not need fast shutter speeds to do this. You need to anticipate the peeks and in dance this usually coincides with ultimate grace in the dancer.

My camera, is not a professional level camera for sports so it has what we photographers call shutter lag. This means that the moment I press the shutter it does not operate immediately.
The good dance photographer (at the very least the conscientious one) will try to see several performances so as to be familiar with those peak movements and the the lovely sections of a particular dance.

This photographer ran out of luck this last Sunday, March! Until now I might have shot 150 pictures and this was the case in previous Sunday Performance Series. Also here, here, here and Mixed Nuts.

Not this time. I may have taken around 600 and I have been spending lots of time attempting to decide which ones to toast. And yet almost every one has a swirl or a face, or a foot that to me is attractive.

So this blog will have many pictures. All are in b+w, some of which I have added either yellow/red or cyan/blue. On another day and when I rest my rectangular shaped eyeballs I will put up the ones I did in colour, Blue by Choreographer Shawn Hounsell with the performers from Ballet Kelowna and Untitled by Lesley Telford with the Arts Umbrella Graduate Level dancers.

I give my extreme thanks to the dancer of Arts Umbrella and to Artemis Gordon for allowing me to have so much excitement and fun. Dancers who like the the shots in my blogs will know that they are fairly largish files. I hereby give my permission to do with them as you will.

I must also point out the thrill of seeing again Simone Orlando and to predict that Ballet Kelowna will go far with her at the helm. 




























































     

Previous Posts
I Was There - Arts Umbrella Sunday Performance Ser...

Effigie Numinum

Captain Kirk, Spock & Yielding Flesh

A Cello, Fishnets & A Bundt Pan

The Fox Cabaret & Wine (not beer) Is Anconite

Alex At The Fotoautomaton At The Fox Cabaret Feb ...

Blurs At Arts Umbrella Q7 - February 22 2015

Untitled - Choreography: Lesley Telford - Arts Umb...

Randy Rampage - 55 - February 21 2015

Talking Stick Festival - And The Tree Of Life



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