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The Perfect Photograph of Perfection


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This week I finished a painting - the 122nd.  So, it is time to start on another.

 

I am thinking about basing it on an arabesque.  Something very clean, very simple and done in pen and ink - 16 x 20 in size.

 

Sometimes I use a model - such as a photograph as a base - and sometimes not.

 

One image kept coming to mind - buried deep in my right brain storage locker.

 

And there it is - in Keith Money's "The Art of the Royal Ballet," 1967 (I bought it in 1968), on page 118:

 

Margot Fonteyn in simple practice clothes, in the centre, on demi-pointe in arabesque, her arms  in 2nd arabesque (Cecchetti syllabus).  Perfectly balanced, perfectly proportioned, classroom wall behind her. The simple beauty of a clean, clear, classical (in the sense of no modern distortion) arabesque.   No photo-shopping, no artsy photo angles, no draperies, no tricky lighting.

 

This image stayed with me since I first saw it in 1968.

 

Do  you have such treasured images of ballet?  or dance in other genres?

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This is the best that I can do for the moment. 

 

Guess who ?  (I would photoshop away the spot)

 http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/QMEBFhVMZpU/hqdefault.jpg   

 

And this one previously posted. Olga Smirnova

 

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Cj3ZYpG8PJw/UhMWcLBPD-I/AAAAAAAAP5o/HgiQTPQ-CNE/s837/bolchoi_londres0008.jpg

 

 

If I can fine "The" classic photo of all times I'll try to post it as well.

 

These are several of the most visually *Fascinating* ballerinas that come to mind.

 
Veronika Part

http://www.abt.org/images/db_images/dancers/partweb.jpg

 

Simone Messmer

http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/13846_228670781857_3734678_n.jpg

 

Ekaterina Kondaurova

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-aeQpYFJmtUA/ThLtiLOW3GI/AAAAAAAACqI/ut17w4DQbQA/s400/KondaurovaHeadshot.jpg

(and as The Blues Brothers :))

http://now-here-this.timeout.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/3D_Shades_EvengyIvanchenko__EkaterinaKondaurova.jpg

Edited by Buddy
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I love this one although I sense that I'm drifting further and further away from you intent, Anjuli. Once again Olga Smirnova. I think that as a facial portrait it captures the 'ethereal' beauty and poetry of this remarkable young artist. 

 

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02519/Olga_2519177b.jpg

 

The Anna Pavlova one that I posted first has been perhaps my favorite dance image since I first saw it almost ten years ago. It's taken from the film clip made of her and the graininess of the black background looks like stars in the heavens, where I can imagine her dancing.

 

The second one of Olga Smirnova in warmup clothing simply suggests an Earth-Goddess. 

 

I've yet to find a photo of the last three ballerinas that captures their visual enchantment and fascination.

Edited by Buddy
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There is a wonderful (in my opinion) photograph of Makarova as Juliet which I believe was used as the cover of a book called Ballerina...Whilst searching for it now I also found a beautiful one of Osipova at ABT (also Juliet) I've tried to post the link, but it's not working....x

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Fonteyn was such a beautiful woman, she had some lovely photos taken.  I have a book with some wonderful pictures of her.  Among my favourites are one taken of her as the Firebird, just leaping on the stage.  It is full of movement, but unfortunately I can't find the exact photo on the web.   You know the costume, of course:

 

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/11/19/article-1229174-0741C6B8000005DC-693_468x314.jpg

 

There are also some super ones of her in Symphonic Variations, with Pamela May and Moira Shearer.  Again, I can't find anything of good quality on the web, only these:

 

http://archives.dailynews.lk/2006/06/07/z_p34-Engigma2.jpg

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In my opinion the 'photograph of perfection'- as illustrated in the above preferences is of a beautiful (but not necessarily perfect ) line, co-ordination and feeling of abandon, with the spirit, and not just a leg or foot, reaching to infinity. 

 

But that's just what I think. x

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 One of my favourites of Fonteyn is where she is simply pointing behind, framed in a stone arch outdoors.  Will try to find it tomorrow. 

 

I think I know the one you mean, it was taken inside the Alhambra in Granada.

 

Dug out my Art of the Royal Ballet last night (dust cover in terrible state now) and had a long look at the picture Anjuli likes so much, it is indeed very beautiful.  My favourite of Fonteyn is in another Keith Money book, Fonteyn & Nureyev, the pages are not numbered but it is one of the last in the book with the pair in costume for Sleeping Beauty.  The perfect line formed between them illustrates why the partnership has become immortal.

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Yes that is the one.  If you go to Google Images there are masses of photos of her, including that, but I couldn't separate it out to make a link.  Another very old one I love was taken on a boat in the med.  She and Robert Helpmann (if I remember correctly) are doing a barre on deck holding onto the railing.  They look tanned and happy, a great picture.

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Yes, I remember there were a couple of photos of her doing barre work on the boat.  She really was so photogenic, and she also seemed to radiate this air of serenity when she was practising.

 

I am trying to think of current dancers who have had similar photos taken while they were practising, but nothing springs to mind. 

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Thank you so much Buddy for thinking of that painting.  i really should identify it.  It's called "Starr" because i painted it from a photo of the beautiful dancer Starr Danias.  The painting is oil on canvas - 20 x 16.

 

 

 

I think I know the one you mean, it was taken inside the Alhambra in Granada.

 

Dug out my Art of the Royal Ballet last night (dust cover in terrible state now) and had a long look at the picture Anjuli likes so much, it is indeed very beautiful.  My favourite of Fonteyn is in another Keith Money book, Fonteyn & Nureyev, the pages are not numbered but it is one of the last in the book with the pair in costume for Sleeping Beauty.  The perfect line formed between them illustrates why the partnership has become immortal.

 

I looked at my copy of Fonteyn and Nureyev and the Sleeping Beauty pictures are indeed wonderful as MAB says.

 

As I recall from Fonteyn's auto-bio, she mentioned that often both she and Nureyev were surprised how marvelously their lines matched.  She also said that while performing she caught a glimpse of how he placed his foot on the stage and it mesmerized her.  There is a picture of just such a moment - I  believe it occurs in the Balcony Scene of R & J - (I forget which book) just their feet side by side stepping forward.  Marvelous and memorable.  Not a distorted line anywhere.

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Maybe you could post some more of your paintings sometime, Anjuli. That would be great to see.

 

I do enjoy painting dance.  I think having danced is a great help to me; helps to know where the weight is placed.

 

I am still busy on the Fonteyn sketch - I think I captured (or I hope I captured) that serentiy and floating essence of her - although I am not intending it to be a portrait.  I also put my dancer on pointe.  Probably will be pen and ink rather than oil. 

 

As for putting my dance paintings up here - while I am willing - I'm not sure it would be something the Moderators might want.  I would be taking up more than my share of input on the Board.  

 

It seems to me that ballet photographs are much more suceessful  in black and white rather than color.  Does anyone else feel that way?

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