I usually like having my picture taken. If I’m dancing. I hate standing there and smiling. I want to jump around and have someone capture the weird shapes I make when I flail about. This was why taking my head shots was so painful. It seems to self-serving. I understand the reason for head shots, of course I do, but as I sit there and smile or look too serious, I feel very vain. I like photographs of me dancing because at least that takes some skill. I had my last dance photos done at an intensive about a year ago. While they were well done in a composition sense, I have lost a good deal of weight since then and gained a fair amount of muscle. My body looks different (better) and I want my photos to reflect that. After all, some day I’m going to be old and grey and incapable of moving exactly like this. Having my photography minded friends take some photographs for a few bucks is easy and fun in Moscow.
My last dance photo session was also about fifteen minutes long. I froze up, because I knew I was on a deadline, and there were people watching and waiting, and the director of a company I really like was there directing me and the photographer. I wasn’t in a clear headspace. So I got maybe three really good photographs out of the ordeal.
The summer before that (I still feel like it’s 2013, by the way), I had another friend take my photos outside in the University’s beautiful arboretum. I quite like these photos, but, again, my legs are firmer and more muscular now, and I wanted something that looked more professional. I also wasn’t entirely fond of the outfits I had chosen for these. So I had another friend photograph me recently. It went great, except I forgot how exhausting it was. Doing the same movement over and over and over again gets tiring, especially since I was trying to catch some jumps and positions that I am unable to hold for a very long time. The next morning, my the right side of my butt was so knotted up that walking was painful. I had done a lot of movement on my good side and ignored my left half. I also went through with my nude underwear plan, except I didn’t want nude underwear and wore a nude leotard. Since we took the photos in the studio against the black curtains, they turned out really well in terms of lighting. I didn’t even look horribly unflattered for a lack of tights or high waisted shorts to suck me in. I started off doing it as kind of a joke, because I feel like it’s the sort of thing that very serious dancers do. “Real” artists take naked photographs and paint naked women and dance without their tops on and splatter their blood on the canvas. I always take myself too seriously, so I just half wanted to see what I could do. I took a few creepy shots that I intend to give to my professor, but then something changed. My positions and movements gained a freedom that they had not previously had. After all, I pretty much looked naked – how much more ridiculous could I get? The photos in the nude leotard lacked the uptightness I had been displaying, and suddenly I got a surge of confidence. The clothes we wear very much affect us and our movements. I just hadn’t anticipated this change in myself.
I tried a lot of different movements. Some worked, and a lot didn’t. But I really appreciate the way the nude leotard changed me, and I like that it takes all the attention away from the outfit and puts it all on me. This is my body and these are the shapes I can make with it. This is what it can do. It’s not about the outfit, it’s about the dance. I did get a few comments from people about the nude leotard, though. A friend was afraid to “like” it on facebook for fear of me thinking it was a sexual thing. Some people made a point that their favorite photographs were the ones where I was very much clothed. I do think that some people feel uncomfortable about them, but those aren’t the peple I’m looking to hire me or choreograph on me. All in all, I’m very happy with the results. I was completely able to redo my website, and the photographs make me look more mature and polished than the old ones, nice as they were. I think I’m growing.