As well as photographing dance, and performance art, I also help run a community darkroom: Leicester Lo-Fi. Every season, we do some new workshops, and like to put in some less known alternative processes, so I thought I’d do one on Luminograms. First, I had to learn how to do them. Luminograms are photographs taken without a camera, just manipulating light, in the darkroom. The absolute master of the process is Michael Jackson, and I still can’t figure out how he does some of his techniques.
I started fairly simply, using a pack of old resin coated gloss photo paper and a darkroom enlarger. This gave me control of how long my light source was on for, and with this I experimented with glass and objects, finding the exposure times that gave me black, various shades of grey, and also white.
After enjoying Lud’s Church so much for the photoshoot with Harriet Curtis-Hampson & Hettie Holman, here, I thought I’d take a rare trip out, between lockdowns, this time with my conspirator, IsoElegant. We wanted some nice contrasting clothes, so she chose a flapper dress, which I think works well.
In Staffordshire, UK, there’s a crack in the Earth, called Lud’s Church. It’s a wonderful place to go, and I was excited to take two dancers there for a photoshoot. Harriet Curtis-Hampson & Hettie Holman, were terrific, and we all enjoyed being in nature for a bit.
I’ve collaborated with Aimee Lily Williamson to make a dance film. The urge to be creative continues in lockdown, but I wanted to make something that looked like it had been made during unrestricted times. So, with a few instructions, I asked Aimee, who I photographed dancing, here, to film herself dancing using her phone, and from there, we’ve constructed a narrative. I hope you like it.
If you like the birdsong I recorded for it one morning, it can be found here:
My first solo exhibition Fluid Dynamics: Dance in unexpected places is currently on display at Déda in Derby, UK. It comprises some 26 dance shoots I’ve organised in some interesting locations. The exhibition is on until May 9th 2020, so come along, if you’re in Derby, and see what it’s all about.
I’ve wanted to do a dance shoot at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire, immediately I walked into the Prospect Room. It’s faded glamour completely matched the aesthetic that I try for in my dance shoots. It took quite a while to organise, but, once planned, the shoot went fantastically. I was advised by the staff to go at the beginning of the day, to use the early morning light. They were so right. It looked fantastic.
I took four dancers with me: Fern Chubb, Liza Mortimer, Nadine Knew and Scarlett Turner who, coincidentally are all part of Fuelled Dance Theatre who I’ve worked with on several occasions. I’d like to thank them for being generally brilliant.
This series of photographs is part of a personal photography project, where I take a dancer to an interesting location, and let the dancer react to the environment. This has allowed me to widen my artistic network further, and build an interesting portfolio for both myself and the dancer.
I photographed dancer Aimee Lily Williamson at various locations in Clitheroe, Lancashire. We had fun exploring Clitheroe Castle, Whalley Abbey in the snowy weather, and warmed up in Holmesmill. Here she introduces herself:
I’m Aimee and I’m a freelance dancer based in Lancashire. I love learning, music and drinking tea. I trained at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and since then have had a grand old time taking my dancing down different paths. I have worked with a ballet company, a circus company, a contemporary company, with dabbles of folk dancing, Zumba teaching, flash mobbing and clog dancing thrown in too. I am currently working with AbouTime Dance Company that create work from local heritage, and Androna Dance Theatre, that I’d say are quite feminist and politically driven. When alone in the dance studio I’d be found improvising to Icelandic indie rock. I’d also probably be in Ravenclaw.
I photographed dancer Laura in Anchor Church, Derbyshire. It was freezing that day. She didn’t complain once. Here she introduces herself:
Hello! My name is Laura and I’m currently studying Dance BA (Hons) for my 3rd year at De Montfort University. I love unusual and beautiful art, and eating nutella out of the jar. Dancing has always been my favourite thing to do; as a hyperactive 10 year old, I started classes as something to do with all of my crazy, other than climbing trees. 10 years later I was lucky enough to be invited to DanceEast’s Young Rural Retreat for future dance industry leaders, a place where I decided that dance was where I needed to be. My current studies in contemporary dance allow me to develop my creativity and knowledge of interdisciplinary performance and dance. Through my practice I hope to explore my interest in feminism and politics, in particular, how activism works within the arts industry. Most of all, I like taking risks, being weird, and improvising to The Kinks!
I’ve been working with Circus Hub Nottingham, recently. They are a centre for training in aerial skills, circus, dance, acrobatics, theatre and drama. They’ve been doing some fun events, like Gloworm Festival in Nottinghamshire, and their own first birthday. We also did a photoshoot, to show off some of their awesome aerial skills. Here’s a few of the photos from the various events.
I photographed dancer Lauren in an old Church, somewhere in Leicestershire. Here she introduces herself:
So I’m Lauren…. I’m your standard left wing, vegan, alternative, feminist, glitter covered, Dr Martin wearing, hippie. I started my professional dance journey at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and, after two years of pushing myself to try and fit into various boxes and one too many rejections, I decided conservatoire training was not in my big master plan and came to De Montfort University instead. I have recently graduated and, like most DMU dance alumni, I have a passion for weird and wonderful contemporary dance. My specific area of interest lies within politically charged creations that explore issues surround gender identity, performance, and feminism. Through both practise and research my love for vogue dance has blossomed and I have great respect for the LGBTQ+ community and ballroom children. Their struggle against such oppression birthed something so beautiful, gritty and raw. Through my practise I try to entwine elements of vogue into everything I do… Paying homage to the legendary children who came before me, sharing knowledge, and making sure everyone in the room knows that Madonna is a copy cat!