Last week Howard Schatz appeared on the CBS Evening News to discuss the exhibit “Who Shot Sports” at Brooklyn Museum.
Watch the full interview with Jim Axelrod – http://bit.ly/cbsinterview
“Hip-Hop,Photo Ops, and the Great Omar Thomas”
Blog #172 8/15/16
Your reading this Blog would be greatly enhanced by simultaneously playing some pounding hip-hop, rap or even rock and roll music. You’ll be able to “hear” the photographs.
Omar Thomas, also known as “FireLock”
Having had a long-time passionate interest in dance, I’ve sought out many chances to work with amazing dancers from all styles of dance.
My interest began with ballet. I quickly learned that the “cousins” of ballet in the great family that is dance are so many, and so delightfully varied, that it is not impossible to see the rigorous basic training that shapes ballet dancers – the physical roots – in everything from jazz and tap to hip hop. I strongly believe that ballet is the generator, the initial language of movement, from which all other dance springs.
This blog concerns hip-hop dance and Omar Thomas, one of the most talented dancers with whom I’ve ever collaborated, a kinetic genius no less talented than Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gene Kelly.
My initial foray into hip-hop, a mostly unknown territory for me, was a fashion shoot I did for Gear Magazine.
In preparation for the shoot I visited a few hip-hop clubs in New York City to get a “feel” for the culture, it’s energy, styling and “LOOK.” It also helped me to find great hip hop dancers for the shoot. I then did a casting for fashion models who “got” the idea.
Tweetie from the casting
Sofia Zatterstorm at the shoot
Tony Kundu and Suekie
I designed the studio as a club and directed the large cast to generate the ambience and special life and dance that is Hip-hop. I created the entire shoot to achieve a wild, crazy and lustful atmosphere. During the shoot, the studio vibrated with pounding music – percussive sounds of joy, rebellion, and unabashed sexuality. It was immense fun!
Colin J. Harvey
With this eye- and ear-opening experience I became so hooked on hip-hop that one day a few years ago when I was asked to work with a group of hip-hop dancers I jumped at the chance. I urged them to perform and dance with over-the-top energy and set about finding images that captured their energy, power, and joy. This is some if the work they did for me and my camera.
Françoise Voranger, Jillian St. Germain, Pachyko Borgelli (aka Napoeon), Mark Pickett (aka Zone TDK) and Omar Thomas (aka FireLock).
They were so talented; I fell in love with them, which always helps when working to find visual magic and create something original.
As occurs frequently when I work with groups of people, one performer stood out for his ability, talent and imagination. He is Omar Thomas, in the air, on the right, a phenomenally talented, serious working artist.
He was born and raised in New York City, and has been performing in the streets and on stages for over 13 years. He soars through space electrifying crowds with his explosive style and dynamic animation that is his “dancing.”
He has traveled the world (Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Sweden, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Singapore) as a performer, international judge, teacher, and competitor. He told me that he hopes to encourage future generations to find and free themselves through dance.
After the initial group shoot, I contacted Thomas and made a date for him to return to the studio. My challenge was to find a way to make images that did justice to his performances. I came up with the idea of leaving the shutter open long enough to show the sweeps of his moves, and used stroboscopic flash to enhance the action, movement, and energy.
I loved working with Omar; it was one of those experiences in my career that produced a high that bordered on fantasy.
Glitterati Incorporated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14″ print of the buyer’s choice.