I first met ballet dancer Brooke Lockett in the empty pool at Bondi Icebergs in 2014 for a Swan Lake media call. It was also my first ever shoot for The Australian Ballet, who I’ve since gone on to do many rewarding shoots for.
For almost two years, when I’d pass her at various ballet things we’d say “hey, why don’t we do a shoot together”, and for various reasons it never happened. But when I bumped into her in the Opera House green room a couple of months ago, we put a date to it.
Although I’ve been shooting full-time professionally for almost 10 years, I’m embarrassed to say I very rarely shoot any personal work (beyond holidays and baby photos). I’m lucky enough to be very busy with client shoots and fortunate that many are creatively fulfilling. But most successful photographers and photographer agents will stress how important it is to shoot personal work. And I do stray into treating photography like a job, not a joy.
The idea of a personal shoot for art’s sake terrifies me. Not having a brief to fulfil? A blank canvas? Having so many options is crippling to me.
But I’d set a date and committed to overcoming my anxieties.
I booked a studio at Sun. I made a pinterest board of reference images that I liked. And last Sunday we shot some pictures.
After all my fears, it was really such a joy to be in the studio and experimenting.
One thing I especially love about working with dancers is that it feels more like a collaboration than most shoots I do. I’d broadly brief Brooke about something I’d like her to do and she’d interpret that in more graceful and athletic ways than I could have hoped for. And we’d go back and forth trying different things until we reached a point that worked.
It was quite strange having done the shoot not having a client to deliver the shots to. So as is the modern way I just posted them to instagram and share them here.
For the photography boffins, all the effects were done in camera with no photoshopping beyond a treatment in Lightroom. The multiple exposure effect is achieved using multiple flash exposures in the one long exposure photo.