Urban Ballet Dancer
Spanish photographer Saskia Font hails from an artistic family; her father is a painter, her mother is a ceramist and her grandparents were dancers. Since she was very small, Saskia enjoyed ballet and she has conceived Bailarina y Urbe to highlight the contrast between the purity and elegance of dance against the rough urban environment.
I asked Font about the equipment she uses to capture these images. “I used, until not so long ago, a Canon 350D, and now I have a Canon 60D with a Sigma lens (17-70mm). I always liked Canon because I think they are making better equipment all the time and updating their products very fast. Also the quality and price is good.”
Photographing ballet dancers is a very specific skill and without the comparative safety net of a rehearsal studio or theatre I was intrigued to know how Font worked with the unpredictable elements and her surroundings to get the best shots. “Photographing ballerinas in urban environments is very spontaneous, very raw. You cannot rely on the light or the circumstances, or the weather. It might be cold and then the ballerina won’t be as comfortable to pose and find the elegant movements. Also the place where you want to take pictures might be crowded, and you don’t know whether that’s the case until you get there with your equipment and the ballerina herself. The photographs have the immediacy of the moment and you never know if it will go well and you will have twenty photos you can use, or it will go not so well and at the end you just have one photo which you think is worth releasing.”
And how does Font choose her dancers ? “It’s very important that there is a good relationship with the ballerinas; a connection. And that the ballerinas let themselves go. I think it’s better that a ballerina has a strong connection with the camera, more than having a very good technique.”
I ask Font whether she has input into what the ballerinas wear for her shoots and her answer reveals that she gets to know them very well beforehand, saying, “it is very important which clothes the ballerinas wear. They always have to contrast with the background and that’s not always easy. Each ballerina has their own style, an inner essence, so I also try to catch that by choosing carefully the clothes they have to wear.”