Tuesday, 21 October 2014

NYC Dance Project: Photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory

Ashley Ellis, Principal Dancer at the Boston Ballet shot by photographers Deborah Ory and Ken Browar at their studio in New York City.


American photographers Deborah Ory and Ken Browar created the NYC Dance Project to shoot contemporary and classical dancers in New York, capturing their dynamism and beauty, Antonio Visconti reports

DEBORAH Ory started her career as a modern dancer while Ken Browar worked as a fashion photographer. Today, working together they are able to use each of their different strengths to create startling portraits of New York's top dancers. The dance project grew from their shared love of the human body in motion. 

“It is a celebration of dancers’ bodies," says Ken Browar. "Dancers must simultaneously be artists and athletes, and we try to highlight both qualities of our subjects in the photographs.” Ory and Browar describe their collaboration as one of  "give and take" between both them and their subjects.  

“We want to showcase and celebrate the dancers as individuals so that our project becomes a diverse portrait of New York's dance community,’’ says Browar. “Even in photographs where the dancers wear costumes, we look for the human being within the character they are playing.”

They prepare each shoot as though it is a dance production, working like choreographers and designing the sets, lighting, mood and movement to reflect the particular qualities of each dancer. “Our favorite moments are the simple ones: the breath the dancer takes after a jump, the quiet introverted moments often only seen backstage, or the second, mid-motion, when the dancer feels free,’’ says Deborah Ory.

Today, Browar and Ory live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with two teenage daughters who are studying to be ballerinas. Browar’s passion for dance began when he lived in Paris and photographed dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet. His fashion photography has appeared in VogueElleMarie Claire and other European fashion magazines.

Ory began studying dance as a child and  made it her profession until she was injured and began her photography career, shooting the rehearsals she could not participate in. After moving to New York City, she worked as a photo editor at magazines such as House & Garden and Mirabella and began shooting editorial work for international design publications.
Click on photographs for full-screen slideshow
Marcelo Gomes, Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. “Our work is a celebration of dancers’ bodies," says Ken Browar. "Dancers must simultaneously be artists and athletes, and we try to highlight both qualities of our subjects in the photographs.” 


Ashley Ellis, Principal Dancer from the Boston Ballet making a graceful pose in New York. “Our favorite moments are the simple ones: the breath the dancer takes after a jump, the quiet introverted moments often only seen backstage, or the second, mid-motion, when the dancer feels free,’’ says Deborah Ory


The sheer physicality of dance ~ Alexandre Hammoudi, Soloist at American Ballet Theatre. They prepare each shoot as though it is a dance production, working like choreographers and designing the sets, lighting, mood and movement to reflect the particular qualities of each dancer. 


“Even in photographs where the dancers wear costumes, we look for the human being within the character they are playing,” says Ken Browar. Dancer Gabrielle Salvatto, currently shooting the film Flesh & Bone. Photographed in New York at Browar and Ory's studio.


The expressive Daniil Simpkin, Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theatre.


Stretching ~ Daniil Simpkin of the American Ballet Theatre. 


Anthony Javier Savoy of the Dance Theatre of Harlem shows his elegance and strength.


Perfect alignment ~ Anthony Javier Savoy and Gabrielle Salvatto, dancers from the Dance Theatre of Harlem 


Expressive contemporary dance ~ Anthony Javier Savoy and Gabrielle Salvatto from the Dance Theatre of Harlem


Taking a flying leap ~ Anthony Javier Savoy of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.


Dancer Gabrielle Salvatto, currently shooting the film Flesh & Bone. Photographed in New York at Browar and Ory's NY studio.


Hee Seo is a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. Born in Seoul, Seo is the first South Korean principal with the ABT as well as being one of the youngest dancers in the company to hold this title.

All suited up and ready to dance ~ Daniil Simkin of the American Ballet Theatre.

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