Aerial Dance Work with Mesmerie

Katie Mesmerie Brunner and I have worked together  for 3 years. We shot together for Art as Action (the unforgettable flour shoot), and for Iluminar Aerial (underwater!).  I also photographed her and her fiancé sitting on a bed on 16th Street Mall in Denver, and of course I photographed her beautiful wedding in Estes Park. Katie and I are used to working under challenging conditions and I knew that once again we would be creating incredible images when she asked me to shoot her portfolio.

Katie is an aerial dancer; she uses lyras, silks and straps to perform at different venues around the country. Her latest, month-long series of performance in Florida convinced her that as a professional dancer, a solid portfolio of her work was necessary.

I knew that I needed to use a solid color backdrop and model the lights perfectly to showcase Katie’s incredible strength and grace.  The challenge with aerial dancers is that they need a rigging point for their apparatus and enough space to move around. Using a large enough backdrop that covers the dancer and her apparatus is one of the greatest struggle that a photographer will have to deal with when working in studio.  Katie and I reviewed several locations before deciding to try shooting in my studio. I have an unfinished basement with nine feet high ceilings that I use to shoot all the studio images in my portfolio. This basement is huge and has been a wonderful creative space for the past 4 years. This basement would serve as an aerial dance studio for the first time!

In order to photograph Katie safely, I placed a heavy-duty clamp on a weight-bearing beam (a steel I-beam that runs the length of the house). Then Katie used a carabiner to hang her apparatus.  She used an anchor shaped device for her silks. We placed the backdrop (a 12 feet wide seamless) behind and under her and set up the strobes around.  By the time the studio was set up, Katie only had a 7.5 feet clearance to work with, which is very low for aerial dance. Thanks to the seamless backdrop and Katie’s skills, I could then recreate a sense of height in post processing.

The advantage of shooting in my studio is that we can use any color backdrop, plug my strobes and take our time to create a solid aerial dance image.  Katie quickly adapted to the lower height and we managed to get a series of images that showcase her incredible skills.

This blog shows the first part of the shoot, using a Tiffany Blue Backdrop and silks and a Lyra. The second part of the shoot was done two weeks later and will be the object of a second blog! Katie Katie 2 Katie 3 Katie 4 Katie 5 Katie 6 Katie 7 Katie 8 Katie 9 Katie 10

The power of prints

I wanted to write a bit more than I usually do. If you don’t want to read, please scroll directly to the bottom of this page to see my albums. They look even better in person, so please schedule a consultation to have a look at them !

Pictures hold completely different meanings depending on what stage of life we are in when we look at them.

A new mom looking at her babies pictures while she is still not sleeping at night, while she is still recovering from the birth, will look at them with delight. The pictures will be shared and go somewhere on a hard drive. Or be stored somewhere on social media.

But an album will be stored in a bookshelf. No one was quite sure why this crazy photographer forced them to make an album, but hey, they just did it.

20 years later, when her little child is about to leave for college, she will look at those pictures with a completely new look. The pictures will bring back vivid memories of her time as a young mom and she will feel many wonderful emotions.

If she is lucky, the sleep deprived mom was organized enough to create backups of her digitals and had them readily available, on a new handheld (20 years from now) device.

But her album will be in her office, now that she has opened her own business. She will be glad to touch her baby’s face while her grown up child drives away.

Then one day she will be a grandmother. The pictures will be brought back up to compare features, new memories will be created and with it will come new images.

Hopefully someone will have remembered to transfer the pictures from the old drive. USB technology? What is that? Who know who saw the pictures last?

But the album is now in the family room with the other precious books. Ready to be opened again.

It is very likely that old prints are brought back up, old family albums are dug up. The pictures will  be touched. A little rip or stain adding texture to the times long gone.

I know that people love digital. I understand the need to possess and use what we have.  Most people, unfortunately do not print anymore.

This is why, in this era of digital images, I firmly believe in the power of prints.  And this is why, before my clients purchase the digitals, I convince them to get an album that I design with love. An album that is beautiful and solid enough to withstand time. With UV coated pages and seamless pages. Albums that are built like books.

Here are just a few samples of my albums. There will be more to come and I hope that more and more of my clients will understand and embrace the power of prints.

All my albums are lay flat so that I can use larger images that took both sides without interruption .
All my albums are “lay flat” so that I can use larger images that take both sides without interruption.
some of my books come in this beautiful, recycled wrap
Some come packaged in this beautiful wrap.
each book is unique, some people love heavy and thick pages . Others will want many pages and so prefer the thin paper *
Each is unique, some people love heavy and thick pages. Others will want many pages and so prefer the thin paper *
My album are built like books, with sounded or square corners *
My album are built like books, with rounded or square corners *
Example of cover material : brocade, silk, velour, leather
Example of cover materials : brocade, silk, velour, leather
Each album comes with a with array of cover material, sizes and design. Each album is a unique as my client
Albums come in a wide variety of cover materials, sizes and designs. Each is a unique as my clients.
other example of lay flat
Other examples of lay flat albums.

Talya and Capri

A fine art / Dance session with Talya and Capri Recce, dancers at  Levitate .

 

my beautiful and soulful little model
my beautiful and soulful little model
The sisters posed in this trust exercise.
The sisters posed in this trust exercise.
Capri, aka little miss spider
Capri, aka little miss spider
Tanya went digging through my props and came up with her own interpretation on "climbing ut he ladder"
Tanya went digging through my props and came up with her own interpretation on “climbing ut he ladder”
Capri came up with this delightful pose
Capri came up with this delightful pose
Capri let her sister place flowers all over her while I was working on her hair
Capri let her sister place flowers all over her while I was working on her hair
the split
the split
The nature of motion is ephemeral. Here it is captured twice with the help of a mirror
The nature of motion is ephemeral. Here it is captured twice with the help of a mirror
Jump performed by Talya
Jump performed by Talya
Stand up still split performed by Talya
Stand up still split performed by Talya

Heidi : a Film Noir Shoot

Make up : Kirsten Daly

We met at my studio for a film noir session. I used a one light set up that varied between a fresnel lens and a strobe with a beauty dish, and the wonderful Icelight.

For more information, please email me at : annabelle@annabelledenmark.com

Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot
Film Noir Style shoot

Courtney Queen of Hearts

Courtney is my hairdresser, she is also a make up artist with whom I have worked in the past.  Her and I love Alice in wonderland and started working on this series with her as the Queen of Hearts! Enjoy!

Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot
Alice in Wonderland inspired shoot

Dunes

This series was created in a completely backwards manner. My series usually come from an idea that pops into my head with a storyline behind it. Then I find the model and location to match. I look for the right props, the right outfit.

This series, called The Dunes was born out of complete randomness. My friend Kyla (Fearless Photography) and I were talking about the difficulties of creating original work while having jobs and taking care of our families.  At some point in the conversation I said, “I really want to shoot in the Sand Dunes!” (it is a national park in Colorado.)  She said, “Me too!”.  It was quite simple.

I asked Katie if she would model for us. We set up a date and booked a hotel. Stacey Imran heard me talk about it and asked if she could come along.

And that was that.

The trip came upon me as if unannounced, and I did not plan the shoot.

On our way to the dunes, Kyla spotted a vintage store full of random props and as we entered I spotted a raggedy doll and some lace, and a story slowly took shape in my mind.

As the shoot progressed I felt that I had a pretty solid story but it was shot backwards, which means that the flow of the pictures goes from the end of the story  (the widow standing in front of her destroyed home) to the beginning (the child bride looking toward her uncertain future),  with some developments in the middle. (The dunes changed our bride and turned her into a mystical creature that Kyla actually photographed).

What makes this series so unique is that Kyla created her own images, using the same model, outfit, location and time of day. Her images are sometimes very similar, and sometimes radically different from mine. Our experience took us on two different paths even though we were shooting side by side. Here is her blog: Exploration, Sand and Friends

I divided my series into 3 parts: The Lonely House, Dunes , The Child Bride.  Please feel free to interpret this series however you want  🙂

I. The Lonely House

Imagine what happened in this house, a few miles away from the Dunes. The ground was covered with tiny animal bones and mud, layers of mud.  Bats were hidden in the roof.  There were horses galloping  on the road and a storm above the dunes. The place had this electric and sad vibe . This is where I took Katie and the rag doll for the first shoot.

Dunes   Dunes

The lonely House

Dunes

The lonely house

Dunes

 

II. Dunes

We reached the Dunes just as the sun was setting.  Kyla and I decided to go for the purple dress and let it flow with Katie’s motions.  Katie became less “human”,  and more connected to her surroundings (see images here).  Kyla captured more of her mystical side while I remained on the “dancer” side of her .

I love how we had the elements of wind, water, earth and fire throughout this shoot.

Dunes   Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

III. The Child Bride

We woke up at 4:30 the next morning and walked to the dunes before sunrise to get as many shots as we could. Kyla and I decided to have Katie wear a lace dress, which became the inspiration behind the bride idea.

Dunes
Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

Dunes This image is the only clear vision that I had for this shoot and it came to me as I was holding the doll at the store. Kyla saw me practice the pose and knew exactly what was going to happen 🙂

Katie holds the doll, a symbol of her childhood.  She walks on undefined  with her eyes covered.  She is in a transition from childhood to adulthood, blinded to what the future would hold.

At what point do you leave your childhood behind you?

Dunes

Dunes This is the end of the series, but then Kyla had this great unicorn head and while she was shooting, I captured Katie attacking Kyla!

Dunes

It was around 6:30 AM when we stopped shooting and the sun was brightening the dunes. We were cold (Katie was frozen), and we walked back to our cars, tired but so excited by what we had accomplished. The four of us drove to the middle of nowhere and created amazing images.

A special thank you to Stacey for being so excited over this, and her enthusiasm is what kept us going.

I am glad to have done this shoot-out with Kyla. We share the same love for photography. I have the crazy original idea, and she has the stamina to see the project through.  We complement each other!

I am also so glad that Katie was  our model for this series.  She is a extremely talented, enduring and patient model.  She gave life to those images and gave Kyla and I the voice we needed to express our visions.

Now…..where next?

Dunes