Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Lois Greenfield - State Of Grace
Combining photography and dance, Lois Greenfield reveals the elusive beauty of movement
“The tones seem more continuous in the RAW digital files, less contrasty,” says Greenfield, explaining that recent images were photographed using tungsten light sources rather than strobes. “Tungsten has a different quality than electronic strobes. The skin comes out like alabaster, really soft and creamy. I can't use that kind of light on moving bodies, as the lights' lumens are too low. But in the nudes, the bodies are holding still and I often shoot wide-open at 1⁄60 sec.”
Although film still plays a large role in her work, Greenfield acknowledges the increasing role of digital image-making.
“It may be counterintuitive, but we usually shoot many more images with digital,” she says. “One would think that seeing I got that one good shot would end the pursuit, but I find that never having to change the film back means I shoot more continuously. Of course, you don't pay for film or lab costs, so you might as well keep shooting.”
Yet as some of the equipment she uses has changed, so has Greenfield's vision. After the success of her first book, the images of her second, Airborne, explored not only movement, but also the storytelling quality of both the dance and photography.
“The photos in Airborne have a bit more narrative to them,” she says. “I used elements such as ropes, scarves, flour, cocoa, tubes, plastic bags and the like to transform my dancers into more metaphorical or mythological beings.”
Greenfield dislikes the labeling of her work as “dance photography.” Instead, she speaks of the exploration of time and movement inherent to each of her images.
“I'm most interested in the ambiguity of a given moment,” she says. “Unlike most other dance photographers, I don't try to capture the effort of the endeavor. I prefer to show the dancers in an attitude of grace.
“The pictures look impossible because people tend to conflate the time they spend looking at the picture. The viewer equates the time they spend looking at the photos with the duration of the photographed event. But what they're really looking at is a split second beneath the threshold of perception. What's more, the thinner the slice of time that I capture, the more ‘solid' its representation seems. Photography fragments time and fractures space. By stopping time, a split second becomes an eternity, an ephemeral moment solid as sculpture.”
Greenfield's growth as an artist and her use of digital technology has led to some unexpected collaborations. She's currently photographing and performing in a unique dance that was designed around her own photography.
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