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Tomato Launch and Other Goodies

Insidious Tomatoes is now live. Designed as a mechanism for art directors and others looking for photography, it features 24 photographers (including yours truly) offering a variety of specialties and differing styles. I am proud to be a part of this endeavor and hopefully it will lead directly to some interesting work.

I was reading Joe McNally’s blog entry on Dangerous Dancing, detailing his experiences photographing Bolshoi dancers in Moscow during the late 90’s, and there was a line that really struck a chord with me. Actually it’s a joke:

What’s the difference between a prima ballerina and a pit bull? The jewelry.

Joe is probably the biggest influence on my lighting style, but he is also influencing my writing style as well. He has a conversational style that is very easy to read, includes lots of humor, and of course is very informative. He also shoots a lot of dancers – not as a specialty, for he is more of a generalist, but as an avocation. And he likes to photograph them in unusual locations. Sound familiar? Joe is very approachable, and that is a goal with my writing as well.

Having photographed young dancers on many occasions, I can vouch for the authenticity of the joke. With nicknames like Beast would you expect anything less? Even just hanging out in the marsh seems to bring out the animal in them:


Addie here is doing her best leopard impersonation, only with a lot more style. The other dancers are apparently just hanging around, ready to pounce at their opportunity. You know, the hunters stalking their prey.

I wanted to give this image a commercial feel with the post processing.

I’m having trouble understanding the leading motion blur since I am on rear curtain sync; it’s interesting how the trailing leg is frozen while the leading is not (but her upper body is, which is to be expected). It must be moving faster then the trailing leg, but still looks unusual, at least to me. The phenomena in general is explained in my previous blog post.

Not that I don’t like the image, because I do. Technically the jump is very well done, and I like the sense of motion. I also believe it conveys her athleticism along with her form. The lighting, meant to mimic sunlight on her, reminds me of theatrical lighting; the supporting cast is 1 stop under her and the ambient another down. The direction of the light – she is leaping straight into it – provides enough shadow to give definition to her muscle tone. Ballerinas are, after all, athletes. Graceful, yes. Badass? Sometimes. Powerful? Always.


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