Aerial Part 1 – The Performer

I have been interested in dance and bodies in motion for a very long time and aerial circus arts definitely fit into this category. I had started experimenting with aerialists as a subject for one of my series about 5 or 6 years ago, but I did not have access to a facility where I could spend enough time and effort to develop a voice for this type of a series. In fact it wasn’t until we moved into our current studio space about three years ago (it was designed with the capability of rigging points for aerial apparatus) that I was finally able to really start working on this project.  I think officially I started working on Aerial in January 2013.

When I work on my fine art series I have absolutely no interest in capturing a moment or performance.  I am only interested in creating or maybe I should more accurately say sculpting a moment using a very slow methodical process with lighting, body language and body line.  I love to spend a great deal of time and effort on very subtle changes and for me that last 10% can make an incredible impact on the final image. For the models and dancers who have to repeat and hold poses or dance moves hundreds of times while we “fine tune” every little detail this approach can be extremely difficult.  In the case of the Aerial series where the subject is using all of their core strength and concentration to hold a position in the air on an apparatus like aerial silks or cerceau, this same sculpted approach to create an image can be orders of magnitude more difficult and frustrating.   I learned early on that in order to create world class images for this series I would need to work with exceptional people willing to put in a great deal of devotion and effort to the project.


Ironically and luckily the amount of effort I require from a subject to create an image for the series is actually a prerequisite for being an aerialist in the first place.   I don’t think I have ever experienced a group of performers that are more dedicated to their craft.  The amount of training, perseverance and endurance that is required to be at a world class level in this art form is absolutely mind blowing.  And once again I am very lucky and have found a community of aerialist who are passionate about creating powerful images involving their art from.   So far there have been a number of wonderful artists involved with the project and I am in debt to all for their dedication. For this first blog post on the project I thought I would say a special thank you to Cait. She was the first aerialist I worked with in the new studio and we have spent a great deal of time together figuring out many of the processes and techniques required to create the work.

Some days we even do a shot that is not in the air.

Something we did at the end of the day for fun -  I think after some aerial shoots everyone feels a bit broken.

In the next Aerial post I will talk a little bit about the process and lighting.