On Seeing, A Journal. #304
May 30, 2019
Danica Paulos, Alvin Ailey
Over 30 years ago, and forever fascinated by dance and dancers, I began photographing members of the San Francisco Ballet in the studio as well as underwater.
I have continued to work on creating images of dance striving to reach beyond “usual” and “pretty,” challenging myself to discover imagery not just uncommon but unique and extraordinary; a formidable task.
This challenge is daunting because dancers are so often wonderful to look at and a joy for any artist to paint, sculpt, or photograph. Depending solely on their beauty and grace results in photographs that show up everywhere in countless numbers every year. Compounding the problem, dancers regularly post images of themselves on the internet, resulting in millions of dance photographs living in cyberspace. It is very difficult to stand out, even for professionals, and even harder to create something that hasn’t been seen countless times before.
Adding complication to the challenge of making something unique, a photograph is only as good as its weakest part. Great composition, lighting and gesture can only go so far with a dancer who is just pretty good. Therefore, to make a rare and spectacular image one needs a rare and spectacular dancer.
For my current project, MODERN/modern Dance, I’ve gone to the dancers of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who are among the best in the world. This edition of my weekly Journal is about the marvelous Ailey Dancer, Danica Paulos.