Last week I printed some images of the Imperial War Museum North which is at Salford Quays. (I loaded them up to my website last night.) I was quite pleased with how they turned out so I’ve decided to do a Salford Quays series. That was why on Monday I was at Salford Quays with my camera. (Sunday was torrential rain and 4 degrees. Monday was sunshine and 17 degrees. The pleasures of the British climate!)
While I was at the Quays I popped into the Lowry as I wanted to have a look at the House of Annie Lennox exhibition. However my feet strayed first of all into another exhibition, called A Flash of Light: Chris Nash, which is a V & A exhibition.
Although I was not familiar with his work, Chris Nash seems to be the go to guy for modern dance photography, being acclaimed as the “most imaginative interpreter” of British New Dance (The Grauniad). He has been photographing dancers and productions for over thirty years making “the face of dance more recognisable”.
There were more than a hundred of Chris’s photographs, some black and white, others in colour. As one of the information boards put it “… essentially, Chris captures a key moment that might almost be missed by the viewer’s eye – the peak of a leap or the swirl of movement held in the fabric of a costume.”
In this photograph, the dancer was dusted with flour to give the appearance of a vapour trail as he jumped. The choreographer, Yael Flexer, said Chris ” is singular in his ability” to capture her choreographic style and that “the way he captures the light is unique”.
What struck me most about the exhibition were the parallels with another exhibition which I visited last autumn – “Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement” at the Royal Academy, London. Over a hundred years ago, Edgar Degas was capturing dance in pastels and oils. Yes, it was the gracefulness of the ballet rather than the energy of British New Dance, but their aims are so similar.
A significant part of the Degas exhibition was the examination of the “new” technology of photography, particularly the attempts by people like Eadweard Muybridge to photograph movement.
As the French M. Degas might have said “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!”