It’s always a tremendous thrill to have a book published. Really, there’s nothing like it… that sense of accomplishment that you’ve created something worthy of a publisher’s imprint and the public’s interest. The fact that you may have contributed something of value others might appreciate for years to come is an extraordinary feeling.
Inside the Dancer’s Art is my sixth book and represents the culmination of thirty years as a dance photographer and writer. This collection of photographs of dancers accompanied by quotes from the dancer’s themselves draws back the curtain on one of the most misunderstood art forms. Here, the dancers speak with extraordinary candor and wisdom about the dancer’s life and art.
I found dancers to be astonishingly articulate. The myth that they move because they are incapable of speaking couldn’t be farther from the truth. Ballerinas, b-boys, butoh artists, tappers and tango dancers —no matter the movement style, they spoke poetically and eloquently with understanding and clarity of the complexities and challenges they face...more
My big word is “intention.” Those who have taken my photo workshops know that it’s the first and last thing I talk about. I ask, ‘What do you want to convey in your work?’ Making something visible, audible and accessible to others from that which only exists in one’s mind and heart is the artist’s greatest challenge. How do you employ the essential principles and techniques of your chosen medium to create something that defines you, projects your originality and aesthetic and has a voice in our culture? This is what I’ve spent the last forty years trying to find out, first as a dancer, then as a photographer and writer.
I’ve had successes that exceeded my wildest expectations—book deals, coveted photo assignments, national exhibitions, magazine covers and the ability to interview and photograph some of the most enlightened and talented people in the world. What an extraordinary ride it’s been even when the road was bumpy and I took some wrong turns and painful hits. But the journey made me stronger and even more committed to produce work that matters. I’ve...more
I’ve often been asked, “How does one become an accomplished photographer?”
I usually tell them, “Hard work, knowing your craft and being a good communicator. Recently, I was asked that question before giving a slideshow presentation of my photographs of State Street Ballet. That’s when I realized that there’s one more very essential ingredient necessary for success: you’ve got to have good luck.
My good luck came in 2000 when I met Rodney Gustafson, artistic and executive director of State Street Ballet based in Santa Barbara, California. I had heard that the company was going to be performing a production of Carmen, so I bought a ticket.
The production completely blew me away—Bizet’s driving score, its dramatic love story, stunning costumes and beautifully executed choreography. I knew immediately that this was a company I wanted to work with. So during intermission I went looking for its decision maker.
I found Rodney in the lobby and...more
I’ve spent more than thirty years as a dance photographer. It’s been my passion and my life’s work. For me, there’s no greater thrill than to capture the beauty, grace and power of the dancer. It also gives me great satisfaction to share what I’ve learned along the way. What an honor it's been to serve as director of The Art of Photographing Dance Workshop at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
My vision for the workshop was as an artist’s retreat— a six-day immersion to promote creativity and explore new ways of thinking and practicing the art of photography. Amidst the beauty of the Berkshires, “The Pillow” is by its very nature a place of artistry, spirituality and inspiration. Where better to examine artistic goals, elevate technical skills and set a course for one’s future?
With a backdrop of live dance performances, archival resource material and inspirational exhibitions, participants broaden their knowledge of theatrical dance, learn how to effectively...more