The morning after the Canada Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square, I had a client meeting in London’s Angel Building, so I stayed in town and checked out the Dance in Focus exhibition in City Hall. It features photographs taken during a two day dance photography workshop run by Chris Nash that I attended in May. Two of my photographs feature in the exhibition, which runs until the end of June, and is part of London’s Big Dance and Dance in Focus events. I shall be posting more of my photos from the workshop soon.
Tearsheet from Varsity newspaper
More photos are available in these related posts: Ballet Fashion shoot
I started the Cambridge Ballerina Project in June 2010, and have since photographed 13 ballet dancers from the Cambridge University Ballet Club. The images caught the attention of the current Varsity Fashion Editor, Leah Schabas, who approached me to be the photographer for one of the newspaper’s fashion spreads. She had an idea that combined ballet and fashion (not necessarily because of the popularity of Black Swan, but it would definitely scratch the public’s itch for more ballet imagery).
We met weeks before the spread was to be published in the paper, and bounced emails back and forth about ideas and logistics. She arranged permission to shoot in the Fitzwilliam Museum, and acquired designer dresses and accessories from various sources. I provided contact details for hair and make-up artists (both Cambridge students I’d worked with before), and the ballet club president nominated 4-5 dancers as the models. Unsurprisingly, I’d already met and shot with them all before, except for Glory, who was to play one of the leads in the forthcoming annual ballet show. Sadly, Jenny had pulled a hamstring in the ADC dance show Inspired, so wasn’t able to take part in the shoot. These were all the models I would have chosen, as they are all truly beautiful dancers and models.
Our shooting slot in the Founder’s Entrance of the museum was from 9am – 12:30pm. This meant that hair and make-up started at 6:30am! I joined them at 8am to get some preparation photos, and also because I prefer to be involved in the whole creative process, not just during the shoot. Megan Riddington once again did a great job with the make-up, and Hannah Punter (a ballet dancer whom I met during Inspired) managed to make ballet buns look beautiful.
At 9am (or a while later as the finishing touches were being done to hair and make-up), we braved the winds and walked to the back entrance of the Fitzwilliam Museum, signed in as contractors, and got set up / changed. I already had firm ideas about shooting angles in the vast marble atrium, and Leah was on hand to match up dancers, dresses and their accessories.
The enclosed location, off-camera lighting, and well-defined “fashion” brief made this feel more like a studio shoot than one of my usual Cambridge Ballerina Project shoots, but I still relished having such beautiful muses with whom to create and capture ballet AND fashion imagery that I’ve been focusing on for the last year.
I normally work on location or in a studio with just the model, so it was great to work with a team and end up with a set of images whose sum is greater than its parts.
A very hearty thank you to all involved:
Models: Ellie Morgan, Chantelle Burton, Gabriella Griggs, Glory Liu
Stylist: Leah Schabas
Make-Up: Megan Riddington
Hair: Hannah Punter
Assistants: Daisy Bard, Aurien Compton-Joseph, Chloe Wallis
View the full album of photos: http://claude.gallereasy.com/gallery/344/
Read the Varsity Fashion article at http://www.varsity.co.uk/fashion/shoots/tales-from-the-ballet
A model’s perspective of the shoot: http://gloriousbritannia.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/day-in-the-life-of-the-black-swan-behind-the-scenes-of-the-varsity-photo-shoot/
I’d arranged to meet a prospective model (Dina) for a drink to chat about ideas for our first photoshoot, and I noticed that the waitress serving us was tall and photogenic, ideal modelling material. As I paid the bill, I asked if she was interested in modelling, and left her my card. A couple of weeks later, she got in touch, saying she was signed with M±P Agency, and as she was in the process of building a portfolio and really liked my work, she’d love a shoot. I suggested a location shoot the next day, as the sun had finally returned after weeks of unpredictably wet weather.
Shooting with Emma was effortlessly easy, as her face, body shape and poses are ideally suited for editorial fashion.
More photos from the shoot can be viewed at http://claude.gallereasy.com/#gallery_309
The third photoshoot of the Cambridge Ballerina Project, in St. John’s College, and The Backs. Chantelle was one of the principal dancers in the recent CU Ballet Show “Sleeping Beauty”. She has trained professionally, and has done several ballet photoshoots in the past. I felt bad that Chantelle’s beautiful white pointe shoes got slightly damaged and dirty during the shoot, but hopefully the gorgeous resulting photos make up for it.
More photos from this shoot can be viewed at http://claude.gallereasy.com/#gallery_283
From the two photoshoots with the Cambridge Contemporary Dance company dancers, this image was chosen for their poster and flyer, promoting their December show to celebrate Cambridge University’s 800th anniversary. The alcoves are on the west side of the Senate House, and made for ideal frames for the dancers.