The first ballet dancer I ever photographed was Angelica. We went out to Larrabee State Park right before the fall started. It was September, and the summer smoke from the wildfires still hung heavy in the sky. She moved in such a way that I couldn’t help but think of swans in a lake and also the ballet Swan Lake. She was absolutely breathtaking, graceful, and courageous. The smoky skies gave us a pink backdrop for the last few shots of the shoot, and the haze gave us a magical contrast to the images that I didn’t expect to see.
Getting to do these portraits of a ballerina opened up an entirely new path for me as a photographer. I knew, as of that moment that portraits would be increasingly important. I needed to photograph dancers in a way that showed smaller pieces of each moment, hands, feet, calves, parts that highlight their strength, grace, hard work, the amount of muscle they need to achieve the flawless movement quality with such ease. My mission, as a photographer, is to show the truth beneath the beautiful surface, to really go beyond setting up a gorgeous shoot and delve deep into photographing a person’s soul. That’s where the real beauty lies.