When Joburg Ballet’s resident photographer Lauge Sorensen was looking for a new creative approach to providing a different perspective for the upcoming ballet Giselle, he went back in time to the 1840s when this romantic ballet was first performed.
‘I thought it would be interesting to capture the Joburg Ballet dancers using old photographic equipment and processes that also originated in that same period, hopefully providing for a more vintage feel and transporting the viewer back in time,’ Lauge Sorensen says.
Today, most commissioned photography work is done digitally, providing great convenience, speed and quality. And while speed is a good thing, sometimes there is a craving to slow things down a bit, to form a contrast with today’s fast-paced, insta-culture.
‘I’ve had an old field camera sitting on the shelf for many years, one of those wooden cameras with brass fittings, bellows and large format negatives,’ says Sorensen. ‘Back in the 1840s, this type of camera would have been state-of-the-art.’
The vintage process forces both the photographer and the subject to slow down significantly, providing for a more contemplative approach. Everything is done manually and there are thus many chances of something going wrong along the way. So it’s a moment of great joy when the negatives and the contact prints appear from the darkroom baths and it’s revealed that you have captured the images you intended.
Hand-printed enlargements of the vintage Giselle images will be on display in the Joburg Theatre foyer during the season of Giselle from 4 to 13 October.
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