Heraclitus & My Ghosts Of DanceSunday, May 04, 2014
A while back I joined a facebook discussion group called Dialogue on Dance Writing. I felt I wanted to comment on some of the postings but I could not do so unless I joined. I did and a few weeks after I was allowed in. Nothing much ever happens in Dialogue on Dance Writing and the only active contributor seems to be Battery Opera’s Su-Feh Lee. Today I saw a posting that interested and I contributed. But I had a nagging feeling that Su-Feh Lee and I had met previously.
And indeed I had sometime in February 2003 I photographed Lee and her partner David McIntosh (Battery Opera) for the Georgia Straight. I have no idea what led me to make an 8x10 print of the session and take it to Point Grey Road and immerse it at the beach. I remember I dropped one of the film backs of my Mamiya RB into the sea water and that the repair exceeded what the Straight paid me for the photograph.
While rummaging through my files to find Su-Feh Lee I also found the portraits of a Ballet BC dancer I have little recollection of. There are negatives, a contact sheet and one Polaroid in the file labeled Guo, Fei.
|Battery Opera - David McIntosh, Su-Feh Lee, Feb 2003|
The Polaroid is luminous and the expression on Guo is just right.
Since I stopped being asked to photograph dancers and other members of the arts organizations of Vancouver I have noticed that not only has dance writing and dance previews have declined in quantity but also (who am I to opine as I am a photographer) on quality, too.
I look with interest and jealousy the photographs of the different dance companies in New York City in my NY Times. In these ads the dancers are given personality and their sex is made evident. The pictures show dancers as actors, as people and as humans.
Local images of dancers seem to reflect them as soaring birds, frozen in time and space. There is nothing of their humanity in these images.
As an obsolete/redundant ex-magazine photographer I believe that there is ample room to show dancers in another light.
I sometimes feel that all those dance performances I have been to, become instant ghosts in my mind. Like Heraclitus wrote, I dip my hand into waters that are not ever repeated. But like sounds that linger I feel that the performances and the dancers remain somewhere and can be brought back. My files of dancers I should perhaps re-file as Ghosts of Dance.