ABOUT THE PROJECT
In September of 2012, I was on a shoot with a model who mentioned she was a ballet dancer and we discussed getting together to photograph her in the dance studio. I always thought ballet was a beautiful form of expression so I decided to step outside my comfort zone — the fashion and swimsuit genres I have been shooting for years — and photograph ballet dancers. I started to search the web for ballet images to see what was out there and I immediately fell in love with the lines, arches, poses and leaps in the photographs I discovered.
But I wanted to capture these talented dancers in a different way. My vision was to photograph these beautiful ballerinas in places that they would not normally be seen — the yin yang of ballet, if you will. As I was stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided the only constraints I would place on this project were threefold, that everyone I photographed had to be a true ballet dancer, all photographs would be in black & white, and that I would have one year to complete the project. From this process, Unbalanced Ballet was born.
Within a couple of days, I had over 25 concepts dancing in my head. Some ideas were over the top while others were simple and beautiful. I started searching for locations and most importantly, ballet dancers. I was blessed to find some amazing dancers to work with and I am truly thankful to all of them for sharing their time and talents with me. The process had moments of frustration — with access to critical locations denied and the availability of the dancers was at times very limited. But in the end, all the pieces of the puzzle came together to create some beautiful images!
I laid awake many nights before shoots with visions of exactly how the shot should look when completed. Some of these photoshoots went just as planned, arriving on location, executing the concept and walking away with the image I had envisioned from the start. There were photoshoots where we started with a theme and through creative input from the dancer, we ended up walking away with a slight variation on the original idea. And then there were some shoots where we arrived with a picture in mind, but left the shoot with a completely different shot!
And finally, throughout the series, I have placed the numbers 1111 (eleven, eleven) in the photos somewhere. Sometimes the numbers are obvious and some may require one to look very hard to find them. In some photos they may not be the physical numbers themselves. The numbers 1111 are thought to represent many things…including a “rebirth” or “spiritual awakening.” As a photographer, this entire project has been a rebirth for me as I stepped outside of my comfort zone and challenged myself to try something new. To dedicate a year to a photographic project is something I have never done. It has been a challenge and at times, I was pushed beyond my previous limits as an artist. But expanding my boundaries, stripping down my photos to black and white and thinking outside the box has helped me grow as an artist. This experience has taught me to approach my craft from a whole new perspective.
I would like to thank the following people for thier contributions to Unbalanced Ballet. First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge the dancers. These ladies train for most of thier lives to be the best at what they do. They are dedicated, driven and so talented! Thank you all for being brave, stepping outside your ballet box and trying something new and different! And thank you to the other wonderful people that took time out of thier day to assist me in making this project a success. I could not have done this without each and every one of you!
OTHER AMAZING PEOPLE
James Ramsay – Chase car driver for “Bad Boys” and actor for “Rise Above”
Robert Jerdan – Actor for “Rise Above”
Mark Tolerico – Biker for “Bad Boys”
Lauren Shultz – Content Editor
Jake Forbes – Welder for “The Welder”
Gabriel Mendez aka: Blitz – Amazing dancer on “Yin/Yang” & “Fly”
Laura Winston – Thank you for finding my surfing ballerina!
Jennifer Ramsay – Honesty, love and support.