Updated: May 25, 2020
Every photographer in the world has their favourite photographer or other photographers who inspire them. So on that note, since I previously wrote about my favourite photographs and you have heard all about how I got here from dancer to dance photographer. I thought I would tell you about the people who inspired me and my photography style. Throughout my studies I was constantly looking at artists and photographers who would in turn influence my style or I would want to have a career similar to them, but even before my studies I was consistently looking at dance photographers as dance was always my passion. In this blog I will be listing my top 5 favourite dance photographers and why.
1. Jordan Matter
The dance photographer who has taken over the world with his 10 minute challenges, hitting 1M subscribers on Youtube and his many published books that include Dancers Among Us and Dancers after Dark. From the beginning of my photography journey I have always followed Jordan Matter, I just love his work. I love the way he captures the colours, emotion and movement in his photographs. His first series I fell in love with was Dancers Among Us, I just loved his style and the places he would photograph the dancers in, showing them in everyday life, it inspired one of my uni projects. I was lucky enough, on a trip to New York, to be able to be Jordan's assistant for the day when he was working on his new project Born to Dance with dancer Dakota. It was honestly like a dream come true, watching him in person take photographs in a street/ shops in New York. I learned so much in one day and from then I knew what kind of dance photographer I was going to aspire to be.
Photographs from Google Images
2. Rachel Neville
Amazing, amazing, amazing studio photographer. Rachel Neville has always been one of my biggest inspirations throughout my career, her dance studio photography is just phenomenal. It's flawless. The way she photographs dancers and the shapes that she helps them create are unique. One of the things I love most about Rachel's work is that every photograph is unique however, you can instantly tell that it is one of her photographs. The lighting is always carefully thought through and nothing is ever out of place. She is a very hands on photographer, like myself due to us both having dance backgrounds. She takes on a dance teacher approach during her sessions to help the dancer use their skills to their absolute best. This is one of her many techniques that I have adopted throughout my session. Studio photography is one aspect of photography that I used to concentrate on a lot when I was study but now I always seem to be shooting outside. However, when I am in the studio I love experimenting with new lighting techniques. Rachel Neville is also an inspiration as she has so many blogs, Facebook groups and does lots of instagram live Q&A's for photographers or dancers to watch, which I just love! I find her an open book when it comes to answering questions about the dance photography industry, which is great when you are consistently trying to improve your photography and business.
Photographs from rachelneville.com
3. Richard Calmes
One of my favourite things about Richard Calmes work is he always shows how he got to the end product which I love to see as it gives you an insight into his work flow and thought process. It is also great to see his set ups, which I always think "I could do that" you never really see behind the scenes so sometimes its hard to see how they created the shot. Richard Calmes was one of the first dance photographers I came across that do both studio and location, and his portfolio for each are just as strong as the other. This is where I hope to be one day with the quality of my studio and location work match each other. He uses the same method during both location and studio sessions, consistently using flash. Some of my favourite photographs of his are dancers in water either jumping out or swishing the water so you can see every single droplet.
Photographs from https://www.instagram.com/richardcalmes/?hl=en
4. Six Senses Photography (Irving Kwok)
It wasn't until last year that I came across this photographer on Instagram one day as I was looking through dance photography hashtags. I was totally blown away with his work. The project he is consistently working on is 'The Dancescapes Project.' He has photographed in lots of different locations across the globe including the UK, Japan and North America. His work speaks for itself. The tones across his photographs are just flawless and his composition is always the thing that draws me to the photograph. The dancer is always the focal point in the photograph and his photographs are always so quiet looking when no one is around just the dancer and his/her surrounding area.
Photographs from https://www.sixsensesphotography.com
5. Pickled Thoughts (Dean Barucija)
Lastly, another studio photographer. Pickled Thoughts is totally unique. I love the way he photographs dancers. The way he shows their bodies to be more like athletes and full of strength, rather than what sometimes dancers are thought of as non-muscular and non- athletic. The way he lights each dancers to show the intricate details of their defined muscles, its amazing! He uses a similar tone throughout all his work so instantly you can recognise that they are his photographs. The shapes the dancers create and the way he photographs them instantly compliment each other, creating mesmerising wonders of art. He primarily works in the studio and it is his studio work that I love most. The only way I could describe his work would be delicately athletic. Showing the strength of the dancers yet lighting them softly to enhance their elegance.
Photographs from https://www.instagram.com/pickledthoughts/?hl=en
It is always good to be inspired by other artists as it is a way of trying to things and constantly keeping your brain actively creative too. I love looking at other photographers work to see their style as it is always good to keep working on your own style of photography too. I hope I inspire photographer the way others have inspired me.