Through Mikhail Baryshnikov's camera lenses

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Mr.Baryshnikov has been photographing for more than 20 years, mostly landscapes and portraits, but has been seriously shooting dance only since 2006. He says that he has always studied dance photographers, particularly Alexey BrodovitchPaul Himmel and Ilse Bing.

 

Mr. Baryshnikov has now made two books of dance images, “Merce My Way” (2008) and “Dominican Moves” (2009), both published by Baryshnikov Productions.

In some ways, the simplest thing that photographs do is visually describe things. It is the foundation of the medium. It is only when photographers aspire to more that they can express their ideas, thoughts and inner feelings and make images that are not only literal.

 

Similarly, Mr. Baryshnikov says there is an internal dialogue when he dances, but “you’re not trying to create immediate images — oh, I’m suffering here, or she was gone — there is nothing literal.”

 

“When I look through the lens, in a way, I’m trying to be a dancer, too,” he said. “I sometimes don’t even notice when I press the button. Boom boom boom and then the piece is over.”

 

If you know dance and are also an accomplished photographer, with experience and a lot of practice it’s possible to capture what dance looks like. But Mr. Baryshnikov, one of the most renowned dancers of the 20th century, is seeking to find ways to visually express what it feels like to be dancing.

 

*extract from the article " Through a Lens, Baryshnikov Falls in Love With Dance Again", October 15 2012. The New York Times*

 

April 11, 2021