Working with two very different dance companies in just two days.

I was lucky to be able to work with two dynamic dance companies in two consecutive days. The first was the Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater, which brings the energy of Harlem to Portland and the second was Portland Contemporary Ballet—for their 2019 season titled White Dress, which is a metaphor for ‘a choice that needs to be made’.

REJOICE! DIASPORA DANCE THEATER

The effort between the photographer and the dancer is a collaborative one. Dance is a continuous movement, but dance photography is about stopping time, of presenting dance as a singular movement. My responsibility to the dancer is to create an image that conveys the essence of what they do in a single image and in the perfect position.

Dancer in yellow dress on red background
Suspension of time and motion; one reason I love what I do. Capturing quiet moments like this take more work that you’d expect. She’s spinning, dancing, in motion.

For Rejoice!, the goal was to embrace a color palette and to create dynamic energy through that use of color. I was challenged to create visuals that heighten the contemporary and classic African dance roots. That meant finding moments, finding poses, and freezing a moment that hints at the joy and energy of this company. These dancers were fun and collaborative—they truly carry emotion through their bodies, and into their dance.

PORTLAND CONTEMPORARY BALLET

Ballerina with white dress flowing
I was thrilled to work with Muriel Capdepon of Portland Contemporary Dance for their 2018/19 season.

People ask all the time…’how did you get that job?’ In this case, Therese reached out to Portland Contemporary Ballet to ask for a favor. In doing that, she befriended artistic director Briley Neugebauer . And that led to this incredible shoot for their 2018/19 season brochure!

Portland Contemporary Ballet, featuring, Muriel Capdepon, Victoria Lauder, Katherine Evans, Sara Gilbert, Carla Coelho, Tessa Salomone and Ella Matweyou
Ballerina posing on pointe wearing white dress
Ballerina Muriel Capdepon wearing the white dress.

Capturing quiet moments like this take more work that you’d expect. We started our full day shoot with ballerina Muriel Capdepon wearing the white dress. She makes this pose look simple, but it’s exactly the opposite. Holding that position was near impossible, and the dress wasn’t being cooperative.

Posting Grids (Puzzles) on Instagram

13 members of March Fourth Marching Band photographed on a rich red velvet curtain

Who doesn’t love a giant grid post on Instagram? Well, pretty much everyone. It’s impressive to discover one, but the process of posting one can annoy your followers. Is it worth the risk? The jury is still out on that.

I’ll be posting puzzle/grid of the dramatic image above from a shoot a few years back of March Fourth Marching Band’s 10th birthday anniversary. Their next birthday is in just a few days, on (you guessed it) March 4th, at the Crystal Ballroom.

I’ve been experimenting with grid posts, with mixed results. I’m about to post one on my largest account, @andybattportfolio – I’ve never done one on this account, but the image I’ve chosen is particularly suited for the idea. I’ll be posting 6 squares from one image, and something is happening in every single square. That said, it could become confusing when viewers wonder why I’m posting so many images of the same thing.

Captions to the rescue! I plan on letting everyone know what I’m up to, by naming the images 1 of 6, 2 of six, and so on.

What has your experience been with grids, either in posting, or getting all those weird partial pictures in your feed?

Here’s another sample of grid posting that I’ve been testing on our @badchoicesproject IG account. If you aren’t following it, YOU SHOULD BE!!!

https://www.instagram.com/badchoicesproject/

And because I couldn’t resist, here’s an out of focus shot of Andy’s sketch for the shoot. Interesting fact: this is a single shot – no photoshopped heads or bodies added. ALL IN CAMERA!

Musical act March Fourth March Band poses for entertainment photographer Andy Batt
March Fourth is a band anywhere from 10 to 20 musicians and performers. How do you photograph this many people without resorting to using risers?

Digging Through the Archive

Entertainment photographer Andy Batt created photographs of band members flying through the air

The other day, I was looking for some info for SEO on my website, and came across this shoot for Roxy Epoxy and The Rebound. Often associated with such fierce and striking artists as Karen O, Siouxsie Sioux, and Chrissie Hynde, Roxy Epoxy made a lasting impact on the punk and indie scene in Portland in the early 2000’s.

Andy wanted to create the sense of falling for the band, so we built a platform, rented a crash pad, and asked them to just go for it! Would I recommend this approach? Maybe not – as one of the band injured their ankle. This was a lesson in ‘oh, that’s why there’s professional stunt people!’

I think I’ll add this work to the ‘entertainment’ gallery on our site. Can’t call Andy an entertainment photographer if he’s not shooting in the genre, right?