Pole dance photography (part 1)
We are, slowly but surely, reaching the end of the year. I began to see the signs announcing winter a few weeks back when I planned a few early shots in Bordeaux. Warming up at 6 am wasn't an easy task for the three ladies who worked with me two mornings in a row. Three performers, three pole artists... But I'll get back to this particular session later. I was just happy to make the trip to Bordeaux to shoot pole dancers because I don't have that many occasions to do so. Pole dancing is a demanding, complex sport and an artistic discipline. Strength, endurance, flexibility, grace amongst a bunch of other qualities are necessary to make it a professional performer. Some of the best complement their training with contemporary dance classes, some even had classical training beforehand. They borrow skills from plenty of other disciplines and train like athletes. We are far from that stereotyped strip club image that most people have in mind when it comes to pole dancing.
I didn't know much about pole and had to get as much information as I could back then to know a little more about it. In 2014, I finally decided to take the step and set up my first Pole dance photoshoot with an artist in Le Havre (France).
Penny - April 2014 - Le Havre (France)
The pole itself is an important element (obviously) and, at first, I had trouble framing and composing my shots with that “bar”. But I quickly got used to it and we quickly started having fun and playing with it as well as the environment.
I truly loved that shoot. Even though looking back at these shots, there is a lot I would have done differently today, it is nice to see how my photography has evolved.
It took months for me to work with another pole artist. Unfortunately for me, this time we didn't have a portable pole with us so we had to improvise on spot. Nothing was planned that day. We had to pick up the artist at the train station, had a quick bite, and then headed downtown. For this 2nd step in the pole world (and ironically this time without a pole) I had the privilege to work with Marlo Fisken.
This is when I realized how skilled a pole dancer could be. You can see how rich her background is in each picture. This shoot left me wanting more. I know what she is capable of and I still feel today that we could have done a lot more. Unfortunately, we never had the chance to meet again...
For my 3rd step in the pole world, I met Fitness bikini artist and performer Sammy Lee. A unique physique and a unique style. We had a bit more time on our hands so we worked with and without the pole. Sun was hitting hard that day so I brought with me a Broncolor Move and a Para 88 just in case. It sure came in handy for a few shots when I had to balance out the light or fight against the sun.
We tried a few things, playing with unusual angles. This one was a lot of fun !
I couldn't talk about my pole dance shoots without mentioning Anastasia Skukhtorova. For those who follow me, I had the opportunity recently to work inside the National & University Library in Strasbourg. A few shots had to be done on the roof, and although we didn't get to bring a pole up there, we managed to create some interesting pictures. You can see the entire shoot in video and the resulting pictures in my previous article.