Every dancer hopes to have some amazing photos of them in their element to keep for posterity, but few have truly had that wish fulfilled. Over the years, I’ve been involved in many photoshoots, as well as had numerous professional photos taken at performances. After it, you purchase the photos excitedly, and inevitably, it’s always bittersweet.
In a photoshoot, it’s so difficult to have the photographer and the model on the same page artistically, as both are artists in their own right. In a performance, with hair, arms, legs everywhere, it’s extremely difficult to get shots that both reflect the energy and mood of the performance, as well as capturing beauty in the movement.
Let’s face it, dancers, and most performance artists, are vain. By vain, I don’t mean we want to look perfect – but clearly, as someone dedicated to performance, we want to present something beautiful, whatever we may perceive beauty to be. I’m extremely lucky – last year I got the opportunity to do a photoshoot with someone in Singapore on one of my trips home. Wei Li is an unassuming man, but I knew him to be passionate about photography.
To my delight, when he showed me some of the images he’d already taken of my dancer friends in Singapore, I gasped with happiness. Here was a man who not only understood dance, but he had the same artistic viewpoint as me! Quickly I got changed into my outfit, and off we went.
Wei Li was perfect as a photographer – he coached, cajoled and encouraged me when I felt uninspired. He told me exactly what he wanted me to do, but was also spontaneous whenever I broke into my own thing. He understood the fatigue that comes with doing the same. move. 100. times. to get the one photo, and best of all, he let me look at the images he captured as we went along, so I got an on-the-go insight into what he was creating.
The results? You tell me. And the next time you are in Singapore, you contact Wei Li. His genius speaks for itself. These are photos I’m proud of, that I want to represent me, photos I’ll want to keep for my grandchildren, photos that I think can inspire people to dance, to dare to dream. Thank you Wei Li.
And my personal favorite (I was getting tired and cranky, he told me to strike a pose, I err let out a bit of a yell):