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Passion and Line

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"The body swayed to music is captured here in a moment of sublime form…Schatz captures the exquisite moment at 1/500thth of a second [and] displays a virtuosity with his camera that is totally in synch with the performers."

- Washington Post Book World

"Dance’s restless magic can never be captured in a still and silent picture. Howard Schatz’ photos..come dazzlingly close…Schatz choreographs an intimate collaboration between dancer and camera …he defies the limits of earthly reality."

- Life Magazine

“The wedding of dance and photography – with dance the often reluctant bride – has long been called, naturally enough, ‘dance photography.’ But in reality there can be no such thing; photographers may want to photograph dance, but like a camera-shy beauty, dance doesn’t particularly want to be photographed. Photographers have dealt with the limitations of this translation in a few classic ways. Motion may be implied through blurring, as in Alexey Brodovitch’s impressionistic pictures of the Ballet Russe. Or each of several instants in a movement can be stopped in the near- scientific manner of Eadweard Muybridge… though putting them back together again is no small challenge to the imagination. Howard Schatz does not try to capture the essence of dance as itself. He understands too well the limitations of translation. Rather than fight these limitations, he lets them set him free. If dance is camera shy, so be it; he will create moments that, like dancers, are made to be photographed. Thus, his pictures are not about dance; they are photographs of dancers as phenomenal objects: graceful, poetic and powerful; explosive or ecstatic in motion, elegant and elemental while at rest.

“Schatz creates new choreography, works that begin and end within 1/500th of a second, movements meant to satisfy the brief, intense attention span of the camera. He creates a kind of mythic compression, time-release capsules on film that expand into dance upon coming in contact with a viewer’s eye. Through constant, insistent direction, tireless experimentation (given the blessing of ‘models’ well accustomed to both) and such shameless ruses as a trampoline and inverted negatives, he launches his Promethean creatures into a remarkable hybrid, a kind of camerography that comes as close to translating dance into still pictures as anything yet has.

“In the pictures that come of these sessions, there is a kind of mutual exaltation in which photographer, dancer, and observer collaborate. Adoration as its own reward.” Owen Edwards, from introduction.

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