Aerial photographer Brad Walls, also known as Bradscanvas, has recently released a new body of work, ballerine de l'air (Ballerina from the air).
Initially inspired by an image by Olive Cotton, Tea cup ballet, Walls began exploring the concept in early 2020, pinning ideas to a virtual inspiration board that consisted of shadows, shapes, and tutus, stating that, “Most people had seen ballet photographed traditionally... and while those photos are undeniably beautiful, I wanted to rewrite the composition, purely focusing on the unique shapes and shadows of the art form".
Offering an alternate view is the foundation of Walls’ work. “I had photographed people from above – including Olympians and models – and while those shots were very compelling, I knew here that combining such a prestigious art form with an alternate view would truly be the embodiment of my work,” he says.
Walls contacted Montana Rubin, a member of the corps de ballet (body of the ballet) within the prestigious Australian Ballet. Because of the pandemic, Rubin was not performing on stage, nor working as usual with the Ballet, and this made the collaboration easier to initiate. “With his clean aesthetic and attention to detail, I was excited to see how our worlds could mesh,” she stated. “Brad’s unique viewpoint also gave me an opportunity to see my art form quite literally from a different perspective.”
Walls chose two contrasting locations to shoot in – the first being a warehouse featuring barren concrete floors, contrasting against the ballerina’s soft movements, and the second a private event space with picturesque floor tiling, complementing the visual aesthetic of Rubins’ tutu. As part of the collaboration, Walls and Rubin explored traditional ballet positions, as well experimenting with non-traditional shapes, specially-tailored for the ‘view from above’. “It was imperative to pay homage to the art of Ballet, while at the same time adding a new, modern spin which incorporated positions and shapes that were beyond the traditional art form,” Walls explained. Of the experience, Walls commented: “Watching an artist truly lose herself in her art form was truly a spine-tingling moment and a moment that a photographer can end up waiting many years to experience – if they get to experience it at all.”
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