Emily Molnar, Studebakers & Kodak Technical Pan FilmFriday, September 25, 2009
I consider myself a fortunate man in having had the opportunity to photograph dancer/choreographer (and now interim artistic director of Ballet BC) Emily Molnar six times. Photography has been kind to me in not only giving me the opportunity to photograph such interesting people as Molnar but also the distinct pleasure that comes with repetition over a period of time. Particularly with dancers there is always the excitement (also a stressful problem) of coming up with a concept. In the past I have photographed Molnar on a big red suitcase (she was either going somewhere or coming from somewhere) and on the floor with her foot sticking out in front of my camera. She once danced a solo for me until I found a position I wanted to capture. I photographed her with Crystal Pite (both danced for Ballet BC and Ballet Frankfurt) and then there was the time she posed with young dancer Alex Burton and Arts Umbrella Dance Director, Artemis Gordon.
This last time (two weeks ago) the assignment came from the Georgia Straight with the duty of somehow conveying the idea of Emily Molnar, Interim Artistic Director of Ballet BC and not Emily Molnar the dancer or the choreographer.
When Molnar arrived in my studio (I had a prescient feeling it was going to be my last session in my studio after about 17 years in it. And so it was) I had no clue as to what I was going to do. Molnar made it easy for me as she had her own idea. She had always admired a photograph of her mentor, the former director of Ballet Frankfurt, William Forsythe. The portrait in question had half his face in darkness. I told Molnar that the folks at the Straight (they want everything bright) would frown on this and we would have to compromise a tad.
I photographed Molnar in colour as the Straight likes colour. My belief is that variety would serve them better, but then what do I know, after all I shoot film and I have memory of cars that had the marking Body by Fisher and know that Raymond Loewy designed Studebakers.
On my own I then inserted a roll of the sharpest film (colour or b+w) ever made, Kodak Technical Pan. It is a b+w film with an extended red sensitivity that makes skin glow. Perhaps it was the knowledge of using a roll that I keep in my freezer and use only for special occasions with special people (and Molnar qualifies for that!) that made me pursue that little light on the left side that makes the b+w version of the picture so much better than the pleasant colour one. I have not picked up a Straight but I can bet that the folks there selected the nice colour one. But then what do they know about Studebakers?
More Emily Molnar
and even more Emily Molnar
More Technical Pan
And even more.