I was motivated by the flexibility of dance, the expanse and physical challenges that bind movement. Dancers have an ability to express emotion through how they move, and it seems as though the more flexibility they have, the more emotion they can express. This is where I wanted the this series to exist. To hyperextend the emotion, to continue the movement beyond the natural the limits of the still image, to exaggerate the flexibility. With this and most of my work I wanted the viewer to be curious, to wonder and be visually struck.
The idea came to me in several waves, watching the distorted mirrors in a Mexico City cantina, another one hit me when I caught my own reflection in Plexi mirror for another shoot, and even another inspiration hit me when I first saw Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. I wanted to single out the reflection, using the reflecting distortion as the final piece. I felt this simple yet impactful use of distortion would be an intriguing connection with dance. Technically, I shot this on two separate days in studio with strobe. I photographed the reflection of the dancers using a bent plexiglass to make the exaggerated anatomic shapes.
Originally from outside Chicago, I grew up enjoying art and music. I first picked up a saxophone in first grade and continued to play through high school. I never practiced the horn, so as soon as I could, I jumped into a photo class. I spent the following years taking pictures of my friends rollerblading. Like any overambitious teen would, I submitted my amateur skate photos to magazines. That drive and passion turned into a an amazing exploration of vision. I then studied art again and dabbled into design, and eventually got a opportunity to intern for David Lachappelle in Los Angeles it was my first view into large scale production. I was quick to get into the photography industry in LA. Through good friends I built a great network with people that I trust. Ten years later I’m trying to unlearn what Brooks and the years taught me. I truly believe one of the greatest gifts in photography is the experimentation and exploration. These days it doesn’t take much to call yourself a photographer, that’s why I look up to photographers that know the rules well, yet still choose to break them.
Kianí Del Valle