@sarahcarpenterphotography #pvtakeover Day 2 // The Artist Series // A few years ago, I was working out in my living room and watching a ballet documentary on Netflix called “Ballet 422.” The truth is, if I’m watching a documentary, it is typically about ballet. This particular day I was struggling and probably had been for a while. I was feeling uninspired by my business and stuck. I just needed to get my mind off of social media and missed opportunities and inquiries that didn’t pan out. So, I watched “Ballet 422,” and then another documentary, and then another. I am not even really sure how many I ended up watching that day. Throughout the day, I felt this strong pull to get back to my dance roots. It had been a while since the last time I’d stepped foot in a dance class, and I was missing it fiercely. That day, I decided I needed to start doing dance portraits. It took me a while to convince any dancers to work with me. But after attending some of my favorite dance companies’ shows and taking a trip to Europe that reminded me of my love of classical music and the struggles of playing a string instrument, I finally started @theartistseriesproject. What I wanted from this project was to show dance and other art forms in a different light than what I was seeing in the photography world. I wanted to show the smaller details, the ones that matter the most, the ones that show the daily struggle, the strength, the endurance it takes to make a life out of these arts that look so beautiful and easy from the outside.
📷 on #fuji400h with a #contax645 at The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Texas.
@sarahcarpenterphotography #pvtakeover Day 2 // Sticking to My Vision // One thing I have learned working on @theartistseriesproject is that it is so easy to have a vision get demolished by two horrible words—Jealousy and Comparison. When I first started The Artist Series, I knew exactly how I wanted to portray my dancers. I would have them in the most minimal outfits—a leotard, maybe tights, maybe a tutu for ballet dancers and a top and tight-fitting shorts or leggings for modern dancers. I wanted the person, not the outfit, to stand out. I also knew I wanted these shots to be detail shots of movement and muscle, for them to portray blur and to maybe sneak in a wide shot or two for reference. Then I started seeing all these gorgeous shots from dance photographers I admire. Shots of dancers in swoon-worthy designer dresses and handmade costumes in front of dreamy backdrops. I couldn’t help but feel like my little project was nothing, and I started to try to emulate what I was seeing rather than focus on the reason I had started in the first place. Getting the images back from these shoots, I was devastated that I had strayed so far from my original vision. With each session after that, little by little, I forced myself to remember my own values for #TheArtistSeriesbySarah, and to shoot what *I* wanted to share.
📷 on #ilfordhp5 with a #contax645 in studio.
@sarahcarpenterphotography #pvtakeover Day 2 // Adapting // Everyone is different. We all know this. There is no formula for poses or compositions or tricks to pull emotion from people. This is one of the reasons I try to take the beginning of my shoots slow. I chat with my couples, models and dancers, aiming to learn who they are and how they interact with each other and how they move in front of a lens. In order to bring out the best in each of my subjects, I try to get them to show me their true identity and shoot around their personalities, adapting to them as I go. Adapting is not just about changing my shooting based on my subjects, but also on my surroundings and lighting. There are not always sunny skies and perfect shooting conditions, but being able make the conditions I have work for me has saved me from so much stress. Having my tripod on hand if there is the threat of dark conditions is a lifesaver. It might be heavy and a slight pain to tote around, but being able to shoot at 1/15th of a second or slower allows me to have peace of mind on those crazy dark winter days in Seattle. For the shoot above, we were battling so many different elements, the sky was dark, the wind was blowing hard and snow was going everywhere. I was shooting under an umbrella to keep my camera dry and just had enough light to get this shot before it got to a point where I had to whip out my tripod. When we were in Hawaii this past summer, I was adamant that I needed to shoot a Luau on film. After dark. I didn’t have the option of bringing my tripod because, first of all, it was supposed to be a little baby-moon so I shouldn’t have even been working, but also because we weren’t the professional shooters for this event. To stabilize the camera, I had my husband kneel on the ground (poor husband!) and I placed my camera on his shoulder to shoot at a slower shutter speed. Guys, it actually worked!
📷 on #portra800 with a #contax645 at Gold Creek Pond in Washington. As seen on on @deargraymagazine.
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