On Seeing, A Journal #461


Explorations from 2021



Dance photographs are classically made in a frozen moment of about 1/2000 second, the duration of the flash exposure.

What results is a crisp image of a beautiful pose or of a dancer caught motionless in the air, in the middle of a leap.



Left: E Roxas (Ailey). Right: L. Parr



Though this kind of photograph can be wonderful,  I am working to demonstrate and express dance as movement in a single frame.  How to artistically reveal a dancer’s movement from one gesture to another…..

The following images of a few sensational dancers were created this last year. The idea was to capture movement from one gesture to another in a few seconds or less.

The dancers’ names are captioned above each Image;  and the technical details (for my photographer colleagues) below.

Ashley Carizzo

Multiple stroboscopic flash and single rear synch flash.


Multiple stroboscopic flash.


Victoria Sames

Ambient light and single rear synch flash.

Yes, I used gels for color, and that is another story for another time.
Ambient light and single rear synch flash.
Front and rear synch flash, ambient light and netting overlay.
For fun, try figuring this one out on your own. Write me with your explanation and I’ll write back with the answer.
Megan Hoshor
Ambient light and single rear synch flash.
Akua Noni Parker (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)
Double exposure on a light background.
Double exposure and ambient light. I asked Akua Noni, a talented artist to simply turn and look at herself as I moved the camera horizontally to make two separate figures in one frame. It took many repetitions to align her eyes on “herself” in one exposure. She, as is true with all great dancers, was as tirelessly determined as I was to “get it right.”
Claire Kretschmar, NY City Ballet
Ambient light and single rear synch flash.
I moved the camera during the 1/2 second exposure.
Note, left foot is in same location.
Antonia Raye
Double exposure on a light background.
Vernard Gilmore (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)
Front and fear synch flashes with multiple stroboscopic flashes in a dark room (to diminish any sign of ambient light).
Jacqueline Green (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)
Double exposure, ambient light and camera movement.
Jacquelin Harris (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)
Rear synch flash with ambient light.

I love these dancers who are so talented, highly skilled, hard-working and positive. Every shoot has been a gift.

I have a lot more to “say” and to explore with this project and hope other professional dancers will contact me for future collaborations.

For Photographers:  A general “rule” (there are almost no absolute rules in creating photographs) when using ambient or stroboscopic light as an adjunct to a main single flash is that such supplementary lights ought come from the sides or behind (i.e. “rim” light) so as not to interfere or dominate over the main light and its image. As almost always, there are exceptions  (if you have such an “exceptional” image,  please, let me see it), but it’s worth “starting” with this in mind.