Author: Ken Browar and Deborah Ory
Brand: Black Dog Leventhal
- Black Dog Leventhal
Number Of Pages: 304
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Release Date: 2016-10-25
Details: This book focuses on the movement and styles of ballet dancers. It has more than 200 photographs featuring 70 different ballet dancers. They are from the American Ballet Theater, the New York City Ballet, the Royal Ballet and many other companies. I have always liked ballet, so it was nice to find this little number. Ballet people rarely take photos of their work.
They are camera shy, unlike other types of dancers. I guess it must be problematic to be jumping about, and then a flash disrupts your performance. Even without a flash, they tend to be pretty douchy about it. They are a relic from the old world, that warrant further examination. Only under very controlled environments can you get photos of ballet dancers.
Needless to say, the writer of the book Ken Browar was allowed to take the photos. He is a fashion photographer for Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire. Needless to say, if you like fashion magazines, you will find the same aesthetic in this book. I do not like fashion magazines, thought I do like ballet.
I would have liked if the book had colorful backgrounds. The last time I saw ballet, there were no backgrounds as well. They had a TV in the background. However, they were only projecting a single color. I would have liked a bit more of effort into the entire show.
As for the second writer, it is the dancer Deborah Ory. She started dancing when she was seven. She switched to photography after suffering an injury. She was taking pictures during rehearsals. She has worked as a photo editor in Mirabella and House & Garden magazine. The book had won an International Photography Award in 2016.
The book mostly focuses on the dancers. From time to time, they add a couple of quotes from the dancers. This is designed to break up the monotony of the book. Frankly, I would have preferred less talk, more rock. I wanted a proper picture book, and this book mostly delivered. The pictures are in both black and white and in color. It features dancers of both genders and all the races.
I suppose they did that to be politically correct. This is what is most important these days. Nobody likes to feel excluded. Some pages have numerous pictures. A couple feature more than one dancer in the same stage. Mostly, the photographs feature a single dancer. It makes it easier to work with. I prefer seeing more complicated compositions.
The more crowded, the better. I know I am sounding a bit negative, but it is a good book to look at. Some of the photos came out a bit pretentious. They tend to look too artsy, if you get my drift. They focus too much on appearing to have feelings, and not in the dance itself. The best hilarious examples are the ones where it looks like the dancer is smelling the armpit. I have one example here for your amusement.
Anyhow, the book is useful for drawing poses and the like. Most poses book tend to be pretty boring. It is nice to look at dance books to add some variety to your comics and your paintings. This is the main reason why I bought the book. These books tend to be narrowly focused. They tend to overlook the art community that would find these poses useful. These days having a live model is expensive and hard to come by. Having a good source poses is a must. So, get this book, to add to your pose roster.
What sort of clothing is featured in the book?
The book features mostly modern day clothing. I do not remember seeing an actual tutu, now that I think about it. I should give it another pass just to make certain. Also, most of the guys were dressed like swimsuit models, if you are into the objectification of the male gender. It is something that not a lot of people bother to think about.
Does the book feature more girls than guys, or more guys that girls?
The book has an equal representation of both genders. All photos taken of them are very tasteful, just like a classical painting.
Does the book have a lot of racial and cultural diversity?
The book was designed to be politically correct. As such, it features people from different races and ethnicities. It is not Eurocentric, eventhough ballet is mostly an European thing. So, everyone is included in this book, except for Native Americans.
Is the book just pictures or does it come with any written words, aside from the foreword?
The book varies itself by including words spoken by the dancers. It is supposed to give the semblance of a book, instead of a picture book. The words relate to the emotions being felt by the dancers.
Does the book show sequencing of dance steps, or only a single still examples?
For the most part, the book has a single still of a single move. A couple of them seem a bit repeated like the armpit smell. There was only a couple of pages that had sequencing of steps.
Are all the pages in black and white?
The book has both color and black and white photographs. However, it seems like the majority of the pages are in black and white.