One of the most important things as a photographer is to evolve. To learn new things and experiment with the unknown. It you don’t push your limits you will get stuck. Do something strange, try to bend all the rules you’ve learned. In the process you will find new knowledge.
I have the privilege to know a lot of dancers, actors, models and people in the arts. We all continuously need new images to update our different portfolios. These are excellent opportunities to stretch our joint limits.
Recently I had the chance to work with a brilliant young dancer, Oskar Störtebecker. We had set aside a whole day just to take pictures, regards of the weather, and we met up at my place, ready for a day in the woods. It was just the two of us, no one else there to disturb, no one else to offer us their second opinions.
If our goal this day would have been to have a great day outdoors, the weather would have been perfect. For taking good pictures though, a clear-blue sky at mid-day is the worst case scenario. Harsh shadows, squinting eyes and no control of the light what so ever. This is where your equipment is essential. And not only that, you have to invent new things to make your pictures work. Forget the book of rules. Be creative and invent your own. Besides, being prepared for a fight with the unknown triggers the creative side of one’s brain.
We were shooting in different locations, on a meadow, in the forest, in the middle of a swamp, by the water and in the water. Oskar tried different positions, jumps and moods. I experimented with external lighting, with existing light and with reflectors, adjusting the gear and light to suit each situation. Oskar, my gear and me functioned as a team. All three components danced to the tunes in the woods.
Back at home we concluded the day with some studio pictures, but even there trying different approaches, breaking the rules, bending the traditional use of light and composition.
Dancing in the woods became a day in my own professional development. I am grateful to my friends and models I am able to work with.