Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Dancer

Last year the Portland Art Museum* brought us The Dancer; Degas, Foraine and Toulouse Lautrec. When I saw Degas' tutus up close I found a new respect for his work. Nothing more than speckled dots of light on frothy clouds of crinoline, but magical. The tutu was begging to be painted by an impressionist.
We have this print "A Dancer Adjusting her Dress" by Degas in our collection. It's a pastel on paper from 1885. He did more than 1500 representations of dancers.

I too have been inspired by the dancer, as seen in this photograph of my niece at ballet practice six years ago. I no longer remember which feet are hers, this is the only photo on the negative contact sheet that doesn't show her face. It is also the one I most experimented with in the dark room. I have yet to perfect the portrait photo, the one that takes two subjects, both the face and the light.

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