Katie, Part II

Katie is a very versatile performer and we wanted her portfolio images to show it. When hiring for a show, venues not only look for skilled performers, but also for physical and personality attributes that will get the performer into a requested character. Having a portfolio that highlight the style and beauty of the dancer is as important as showing off their impressive skills. This is why, for this second part, we included some beautiful and romantic images.

Blog part II 6

Blog part II 7

Blog part II 3

Blog part II 1

Blog part II 2

Fine art images of Katie in a skirt designed by Erica Martin from High Fashion Flyers
Fine art images of Katie in a skirt designed by Erica Martin from High Fashion Flyers

 

Strength and feminism are Katie's two main quality as a dancer.
Strength and feminism are Katie’s two main quality as a dancer.

 

Blog part II 9

 

Fine art images of Katie in a skirt designed by Erica Martin from High Fashion Flyers
Fine art images of Katie in a skirt designed by Erica Martin from High Fashion Flyers

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

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

Fallon + Fleetwood : a session in Montmartre

Fallon’s dream has always been to live in Paris. I have known her for a few years, having worked with her and her aerial dance company on several occasions. The day that Fleetwood proposed to her, in their Boulder, Colorado home, she contacted me and asked me if I would shoot their wedding in Paris! We spent months organizing this wedding. Before their big day I wanted to do an engagement session in Montmartre, because I knew that it would be a place dear to her.  We met on a Sunday morning, at sunrise, on the butte and did a short engagement session.  Because Fallon is an aerial dancer, we also did a few poses around the Sacre Coeur.  Then we had breakfast at a tiny cafe. It was a beautiful day with Fallon and Fleetwood.

 

 

Our beautiful Fallon doing her thing
Our beautiful Fallon doing her thing
Aerial dance
Aerial dance
Basilique du Sacre Coeur
Basilique du Sacre Coeur
what a beautiful view
what a beautiful view
sunrise in Paris
sunrise in Paris
Quiet time, early on a Sunday morning
Quiet time, early on a Sunday morning
Overlooking Paris
Overlooking Paris
Fallon and Fleetwood, very chic in an empty Montmartre street
Fallon and Fleetwood, very chic in an empty Montmartre street
Fallon on the carousel
Fallon on the carousel
Famous steps of the Sacre Coeur, as see in the Movie "Amelie"
Famous steps of the Sacre Coeur, as see in the Movie “Amelie”
Parisian Carousel
Parisian Carousel
Breakfast in Montmartre
Breakfast in Montmartre
an alley in Montmartre, full of little shops
an alley in Montmartre, full of little shops
Sacre coeur side door
Sacre coeur side door

Montmartre

Fallon on the side of Sacre Coeur
Fallon on the side of Sacre Coeur
Fallon and Fleetwood at the back of the butte Montmartre
Fallon and Fleetwood at the back of the butte Montmartre

 

 

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