Dance and commercial photographer Lois Greenfield shares her artistic and technical process of capturing moments beneath the threshold of perception. Choreographer Kyle Abraham, whom Greenfield has photographed, joins the discussion to speak about her influence and his new work inspired by pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Moderated by Jacob's Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Rachel Straus.
EXCERPT from PillowTalk: Dance and Photography. Recorded August 7, 2010 as an open event for the exhibit Lois Greenfield: Imagined Moments curated by Jacob's Pillow Director of Preservation Norton Owen.
PillowTalks feature world-renowned choreographers, dancers, authors, filmmakers, historians, and critics in live hour-long moderated discussions of the cultural forces shaping the field of dance. Moderated by Jacob’s Pillow Scholars-in-Residence, PillowTalks use dance as a prism to explore the world at large.
Heralded by OUT Magazine as one of the "best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama", Kyle Abraham is a choreographer and performer who began his training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Highlighted as one of the "25 to Watch in 2009" by Dance Magazine, Abraham has also been awarded the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, The Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship and The Princess Grace Award. www.abrahaminmotion.org
Without tricks or manipulation of any kind, Lois Greenfield photographs the improbable, fleeting
movements of bodies in motion. She began her career as a photojournalist, but was
drawn to the graphic potential of dance. After photographing dress rehearsals for
The Village Voice for ten years, she decided to open a studio where she could control
not only the lighting, but also direct the dancers in her exploration of movement's
She has created signature images for most of the major contemporary dance companies.
Many of these images can be seen in virtually every major magazine, in her
1992 monograph, Breaking Bounds (Chronicle Books) as well as in her latest volume,
Airborne (Chronicle, 1998).
Her work is exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. She divides her
time between fine art and advertising projects. www.loisgreenfield.com
Dance writer and critic Rachel Straus has lectured at London's Roehampton University dance program, served as a fellow at the NEA Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism, and contributed to Writing about Dance (2010), which discusses the intersection between writing and choreography. She has written more than 200 short articles on
history, education, and company premieres for publications including Dance Magazine, New
York Sun, and Musical America. She holds a MFA from Purchase College Conservatory of Dance and a MS from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in New York City.
Method of recording permanent images by the action of light projected by a lens in a camera onto a film or other light-sensitive material. It was developed in the 19th century through the artistic aspirations of two Frenchmen, Nicéphore Niepce and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, whose combined discoveries led to the invention of the first commercially successful process, the daguerreotype (1837). In addition, two Englishmen, Thomas Wedgwood and William Henry Fox Talbot, patented the negative-positive calotype process (1839) that became the forerunner of modern photographic technique. Photography was initially used for portraiture and landscapes. In the 1850s and '60s, Mathew B. Brady and Roger Fenton pioneered war photography and photojournalism. From its inception, two views of photography predominated: one approach held that the camera and its resulting images truthfully document the real world, while the other considered the camera simply to be a tool, much like a paintbrush, with which to create artistic statements. The latter notion, known as Pictorialism, held sway from the late 1860s through the first decade of the 20th century, as photographers manipulated their negatives and prints to create hazy, elaborately staged images that resembled paintings. By the 1920s and '30s, a new, more realistic style of photography gained prominence, as photographers such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams began to pursue sharply focused, detailed images. The Great Depression and two world wars inspired many photographers, including Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, to pursue documentary, often socially conscious photography. Inspired by such work, many photojournalists, including Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, also emerged during this period. In the second half of the 20th century, the urban social scene became a subject of much interest to photographers, as did celebrity portraiture and fashion photography. At the turn of the 21st century, photographers took advantage of digital capabilities by experimenting with enormous formats and new manipulative techniques. As technological advances improve photographic equipment, materials, and techniques, the scope of photography continues to expand enormously. See alsodigital camera.