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Barbara Morgan - Charles Weidman, Lynchtown (group)
Barbara Morgan
Charles Weidman, Lynchtown (group)
$4,000
Barbara Morgan - Doris Humphrey, Shakers (group)
Barbara Morgan
Doris Humphrey, Shakers (group)
$2,000
Barbara Morgan - Doris Humphrey, With My Red Fires (
Barbara Morgan
Doris Humphrey, With My Red Fires ("Matriarch")
$3,000
Barbara Morgan - Martha Graham, American Document
Barbara Morgan
Martha Graham, American Document
$5,000
Barbara Morgan - Martha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick)
Barbara Morgan
Martha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick)
$8,000
Barbara Morgan - Martha Graham, Primitive Mysteries
Barbara Morgan
Martha Graham, Primitive Mysteries
$3,500
Barbara Morgan - Pearl Primus, Speak to Me of Rivers
Barbara Morgan
Pearl Primus, Speak to Me of Rivers
$3,000
Joseph Rentmeesters - Maita Ossira (Madame Butterfly)
Joseph Rentmeesters
Maita Ossira (Madame Butterfly)
$300
Joseph Rentmeesters - Maita Ossira (Madame Butterfly)
Joseph Rentmeesters
Maita Ossira (Madame Butterfly)
$300
Joseph Rentmeesters - Maita Ossira (Madame Butterfly)
Joseph Rentmeesters
Maita Ossira (Madame Butterfly)
$300
Residenzatelier Wien - Grete Freudenreich, Dancer with the Vienna State Opera
Residenzatelier Wien
Grete Freudenreich, Dancer with the Vienna State Opera
$2,000
Jan Saudek - Theatre of Life, Hans (46), Olga (23)
Jan Saudek
Theatre of Life, Hans (46), Olga (23)
$1,500
By Matt Damsker
Barbara Morgan -- Martha Graham, Letter to the World (The Kick)
Max Waldman -- Other Dances (Natalia Makarova)

The camera freezes motion; but when the subject is dance, it also freezes the grace, angularity and aspiration of the human form and spirit. Thus, the best dance photography amounts to much more than fixed moments in time. In this exhibit, images of the dance depict a primal art form urged to fresh life, blending tradition and personal style with startling immediacy regardless of the photographic eras in which they were made.

In its way, the evolution of dance photography reflects the evolution of the medium, since the capacity to freeze moving figures with any clarity had to await the development of faster emulsions and sufficient camera technology. As a result, dance images are very much of the 20th century, even though early and mid-century portraits of well-known ballerinas, for example, or stylized art-nouveau dancers, tend to be posed, formal representations that emphasize the subjects' delicacy of carriage and costumed finery.

At the same time, more candid dance photography thrived in the lens of such prolific masters as Brassai, whose images of street dancers or tutued children preparing for a performance are worthy of Degas in their sense of place and scale. Other photographers were more interested in capturing motion and energy--via shots of blurred-limbed dancers--than in freezing the onstage tableaux, as if to suggest the abstractions of the Cubists.

Barbara Morgan -- Martha Graham, Letter to the World (The Kick)
Barbara Morgan -- Martha Graham, Letter to the World (The Kick)

Indeed, the kinetic power of the body rules this exhibition, whether in the emotive elongations of a young Martha Graham, or in naturalistic shots of casual, anonymous youth jitterbugging in the dance halls of Europe or America, or of young children on the streets. For sheer impact and immediacy, these images certainly trump the static posturings of early-twentieth century dance photographs of nude or flouncy-costumed terpsichoreans straining, perhaps, to hold position long enough for a slow shutter.

Yet such antique representations of the dance have tremendous charm, suggesting a determination to use the camera to conjure the presence of the flesh in action, or of the day's most fashionable performance art. And to the extent that dance photography suggests a modern sensibility, it may be located in images of sparsely populated dance floors, in which the embracing couples seem more estranged from each other than truly together.

Ultimately, it is the element of personality expressed in stylized motion that makes this exhibit a triumphant collection of images. Indeed, the effort of the body to express itself in pure form and motion brings out an ineffable essence of the person, and nothing but photography can keep it so timelessly alive.

Dance Photography
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.

258 Inverness Circle
Chalfont, Pennsylvania   18914   USA

Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith

Email info@vintageworks.net

Phone +1-215-822-5662

Call for an Appointment

 

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