When the time came to leave Asheville, I realized that there were a few sessions that were “must-do” before the move. One of these was to work one-on-one with Kathleen Hahn, a dancer/choreographer/innovator/all-around-great person.
We were originally going to do her Fever dance from four perspectives, shot in the freezer section of a local Ingle’s. Mid-way through our first perspective, security let us know that photography was not allowed. Which was a relief in a way, as it did make clear that dancing is absolutely allowed in the grocery. So — if you are ever looking for a place to perform a dance piece, I’d say consider Ingle’s. Even lighting and always a crowd.
Since our original plan didn’t work, we decided to move to a more open environment. The tennis courts in Montford were ideal — empty of people, colorful and available. Kathleen started her routine and I started making photographs. I loved the results — some of the stills are incredible, as you can see here and here. But at some point in the processing, I started wondering if they images could be layered to any positive outcome. With the grocery pieces, three layers per image seemed suitable, but the horizontal stage and lines of the tennis courts opened the image up for more. I think this final image is taken from thirty individual frames.
Each of the frames had to be adjusted to fit the image as I was handholding the camera and not particularly intending this result. But the paint and net gave reliable guides to combine the frames into one. I used Photoshop to place the layers, which are all combined with the Lighten mode. I then did a general Adjustment Layer for contrast and white balance over all the frame layers.
I’m very excited about this piece, as it resulted from what could have been a disappointing end of the original session. However, if we’d stayed in the grocery we would have never found the tennis courts as a venue. I am also pleased with the digital work — I had been shooting film for so long before this session I had forgotten some of the benefits of working with variable ISO’s, quick frames per second and (virtually) unlimited image storage. A good use case for the flexibility of digital.
Thanks to Kathleen for being part of this session!