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10.6.10
By Andrea Rothe (Facebook)

What I’m Thankful For:

Lois Greenfield’s dance photography

Lois Greenfield dance photography
© Lois Greenfield

I have this fascination with the human
body as a machine and work of art. Thusly, I am mesmerized by
dancers—they’ve got the best looking and best working bodies out
there. Dance photography, therefore, has always been something I’ve
been drawn to. And since my younger sister, a cross genre dancer and
violinist turned me on to Lois Greenfield, I’ve never turned away.




© Lois Greenfield

A former film student turned dance
photographer, Lois Greenfield is the best there is right now at
capturing the world’s most beautiful bodies in space. She’s made a
long career of it, and has certainly pushed the envelope, creating
minimalist sets for her subjects, pouring flour and sugar mixtures
down on to them as they perform in front of her camera, and having
them wrap themselves in gauze and pose.



© Lois Greenfield


She celebrates bodies in their best state: at the height of physical perfection and performance, and for the most part, in their youth. In that sense, she freezes humanity in quiet limbo, becoming the god that causes the amber to drip over the beetle on the tree. This isn’t documentary photography (which is what she started out doing and quickly moved away from.) Although she has the dancers
improvise with little direction, they are more tools for her
imagination and projections than anything.




Lois Greenfield Dance Photography
© Lois Greenfield


One of the reasons I find her photography great, is that most of her images require you to keep looking at them to make sure you’re seeing what you’re seeing. Because they require this second look, they transcend the idea of just being “pretty pictures,” although they are pretty. They find you imagining the kinetics required to achieve the pose you are now looking at, and you might wonder what the follow-through must have looked like as the perfectly formed group gracefully falls to the ground. How did the dancer look so relaxed in mid-air? That is what true magic does to you. It leaves you wondering how.



© Lois Greenfield

The nudes that she shoots lack overt sexuality, and I really appreciate
her take on it. The body is simply form, light, and mechanics, and never
a pedestrian view of titillating body parts. An ass isn’t an ass. It’s
the bundle of muscle that a daintier dancer is standing on, frozen in
balance atop her partner. And whether the dancer is clad in gauze, a costume, or a nude thong, unless the fabric is part of the motion, it is secondary to the structure and motion of the body. She is able to strip any sexual narrative from the nude or partial nude body and create that kind of fairy tale magic where her subjects achieve the androgeny of angels.

Lois Greenfield Dance Photography


I find myself lost in her gallery of image after image on her website. I even own a couple of her books. A session of viewing a body of her work reminds me that my own physical carriage that I often take for granted is this same tool as her dancers, unused and unispired. We’re used to seeing bodies in their dormant stages: walking about through hallways, standing in elevators, and sitting in cars. To be reminded of what a fully trained and beautified body can do is so obviously inspiring and certainly worth my time now and again. I always love returning to her work.



More information:

Lois Greenfield Official Website
Books of her images
Hear and see her talk about her work!