Airborne: The New Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield

ISBN 10: 0811821552 / ISBN 13: 9780811821551
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Synopsis: Breaking Bounds brought Lois Greenfield's pioneering work in dance photography widespread acclaim and a dedicated following. Now with Airborne, her first book in over six years, Greenfield takes us to spectacular new heights. Collaborating with some of the world's finest dancers from such illustrious dance companies as the Martha Graham Dance Company, Pilobolus, San Francisco Ballet, the Parsons Dance Company, and Ballet Tech, she captures moments of startling grace and power. In 90 duotone images, Greenfield's dancers defy gravity and push the limits of the possible. A preface takes us behind the scenes in her studio, and the photographer's own captions illuminate the challenges of making pictures that recreate the seeming effortlessness of dance. As inspiring as it is technically remarkable, this collection of incomparable images is sure to captivate dance lovers, photographers, and all who admire the beauty and strength of the human body.

Review: Lois Greenfield is uniquely adept at capturing the vibrancy and joy of dance. Part choreographer, part photographer, she does more than seize dancers in motion in her images--they seem to define the essence of movement itself. In this book, she has categorized her dancers as either earthbound or airborne, and it is hard to decide which images are more exhilarating. In the first set, a shot of a dancer taken the moment her toes hit the ground, with her body and filmy skirt still very much aloft, captures the fleeting experience of the transition. A dancer changes form beneath her stretchy curtain of a costume, seemingly grappling with gravity itself. Another is earthbound as she leaps up with an elongated tights leg pinned to the ground and anchoring her from below. Groups of dancers commingle, Pilobolus-style, and reshape the scope of human form. In the air, Greenfield's subjects fly, merge, and collide in a symphony of shapes that she somehow, unbelievably, captures on film.

All of the nearly 100 black-and-white photos in the book were shot in a studio with vacant backdrops so that the images sail forth unimpeded by background distractions. Greenfield offers short notes on many of the pictures that include information about the dancer as well as fascinating notes on how she achieved the image. Of one shot of three dancers seemingly pinned over each other and stuck like magnets to the same wall, she writes: "The dancers are running sequentially headlong into the wall. The first person is held up by the pressure of the second body. The third guy has to grab the top of the wall across the width of the two bodies. The moment I shot is when the outside man, Ned, just lets go from the wall."

Airborne is a breathtaking treat for lovers and dance and photography alike.

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