h o t o g r a p h y  &  R e f l e c t i o n

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I love shooting dancers. When people communicate with each other, they are also making judgements about the communication and the other person. Seventy percent of that judgement is based on non-verbal cues. And when deciding if someone is telling the truth or not, we trust the non-verbal communication much more than the verbal communication. While we all communicate attitude and emotion non-verbally with our bodies and facial expressions, dancers can do so much more. With practice, they isolate control over every muscle. They play their bodies like a piano, each muscle and joint a separate key. Dancers use this ability to create incredibly beautiful lines showing pleasure or sadness or despair or love or whatever they choose. And one of the great ironies of art is even when they are showing sadness, for example, it can be very beautiful. Seven of us were studying theatre for three weeks with a director at the Roy Hart Centre in France. One young woman came a day late. She was a ballerina with France’s National Ballet. Our group had already done a lot of bonding work in the first day and night. The ballerina never seemed to catch on with the group. When the group sat together to share experiences, she would often be on the outside, often standing and moving around the circle. Only much later did I realize she was talking to us, but we didn’t understand. She didn’t have words to say. She spoke with her body and her elegant way of moving. I expect she had a lot to say. No doubt it was sophisticated and profound. I’m sorry I didn’t hear what she had to say. Dancers communicate emotion. Emotion is the language of the sub-conscious mind, 90% of the mind. When done well, a dancer’s line and movement can reach deep inside the viewer unmediated by language or analysis. As dancers move and move among each other, that communication -the dance- can take the audience to places of knowing that words fail to reach. Of course I love shooting dancers. Photography is non-verbal. Dancers give me such beautiful lines, such a rich vocabulary and syntax to work with. And that gives me a better chance to capture in my images deeper expressions of love, beauty, joy, despair, longing… 

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