Amar Ramesh creates portraits of a classic Indian dance with a modern twist.
Talking about the experience, Amar opened up candidly, “I always wanted to shoot the portraits of a classic Bharatanatyam dancer, but by adding a modern touch to the 2000-year-old traditional dance form. Here is how we created dramatic dancer portraits with a little technique and lots of imagination.
I have a strong inclination towards everything that is culturally Indian, especially a special love for the Bharatanatyam dance. And, I wanted to create something unique for the Bharatnatyam dancer. Bharatnatyam dancers, through their body language and meticulous movements, have carried the soul of this 2000-year old traditional dance through the time. I have shot Bharatanatyam events, but there is very little control you have when the dancer is on the stage. As a photographer, I wanted to make pictures of the dancer but from a different perspective.
The Art of Collaboration
My dream was to add a modern touch to it but without disturbing the core essence of it. I started with the costume and saw how it can be modified. I had this image in mind where the dancer is in her free-flowing meticulous expression and I wanted to freeze the movement like a painting. My belief in pulling out such creative projects always lies in the strength of collaboration. A brilliant dancer, state-of-the-art lights from Profoto, an experienced makeup artist, and my passionate team at Studio A came together and we kick-started the effort. The BTS video above shows a full run of the process.
It was a simple three light set up. We used a Profoto D2 as the key light from the top, a B1X as the fill light from the side and the Profoto A1 as the backlight. The body movements are dynamic so we had a Sony α7R III to capture all the action with the fast shutter and frame rate
Experimentation and Perfection
It was all about playing with the light. We took a lot of trial shots and improvised. Once we had the set of images, a great deal of time was spent in the editing desk in bringing out a paint-like feel to the images. It is always a delight to go beyond the obvious, experiment and come up with something new. I loved the results. Here are a few pictures from the shoot that follows.
About Amar Ramesh
Amar Ramesh is a Chennai based photographer who shoots weddings predominantly, but when he does not, he answers his calling to capture the culturally rich traditions of India. And he considers Profoto his best ally when he wants to bring out the artistic language in to the frame. His recent shoot Natya is a classic example of that.