Portrait of A Ballerina | The Pillars of Mobile
Ballet has always held a special place in my heart. I took my first class when I was around three years old and it was love at first plie. One of my earliest memories of ballet class is of me and my classmates sitting on the floor, legs stretched out before us and listening to “Miss Sue” call out in her lovely British accent, “point and flex, point and flex” as we warmed up our feet. At the end of class, we would exit the studio in a single file line, each one of us pausing to curtsy to “Miss Sue” on our way out the door and hoping for a chance to wear her tiara, which was a reward for good behavior and performance in class. Oh, how we all LOVED that tiara and our elegant teacher.
I credit ballet (along with my parents, of course!) with teaching me many valuable life lessons, including discipline, patience, team work, self-expression and a love of and appreciation for art. Like photography, ballet is both technical and creative. I think that is one of the reasons I loved it so much and one of the reasons I love photography. It fulfills both the left and right sides of the brain, both the side that needs discipline and structure, as well as the side that needs creative expression and freedom. I am convinced that I am in a constant tug-of-war between the two, rather than being decidedly one or the other.
To fulfill the creative side of my brain, I had been planning to put together a shoot just for fun. I wanted to shoot something that would inspire me. I wanted to shoot with film again (to make sure I still remember how!). I wanted to shoot something without deadlines or guidelines. A ballerina photo shoot has long been on my “dream-shoot” wish list and when I reconnected with Katie Noletto Felis earlier this year, I knew I had found the perfect person to collaborate with on a creative shoot. Not only is Katie an actual ballerina, she also loves photography and loved the idea of doing this shoot at one of my favorite wedding venues, The Pillars of Mobile. I seriously cannot express in words how much fun I had on this shoot. Katie and I put on some classical music and she danced away while I snapped frame after frame.
When our time was up, I could hardly believe how fast the two hours had flown by! I had one roll of film and a memory card full of photographs that I couldn’t wait to get home and review. The only bad thing about film is the patience required while the film is being processed. I was worried I wouldn’t even have any good exposures because it had been over a year since I had touched the film camera. To my delight, most of the film images turned out beautifully and I have ordered more film in anticipation of another personal project coming up in the near future. Yay! 🙂
This is admittedly an overshare of favorites from this session. A massive thanks to Katie (leave this girl some love in the comments!) for being such a wonderful model and a to the staff at The Pillars for accommodating us for this shoot. Enjoy! 🙂
I decided to give my favorite of the film images their own little spotlight. 🙂 I love the hint of grain in the Fuji 400H 35mm film. When you’re used to shooting digital, 36 exposures seems like nothing, but that is all you get on a roll of film! This definitely made me slow down and think more carefully before hitting that shutter button. I am eagerly awaiting a shipment of three more rolls of film and am looking forward to using it at my next creative shoot.
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