Name: Erik Christian
Camera: Nikon D800
Favorite lenses: Nikon 50mm 1.8 and the Nikon 70-200 2.8
What is the Ballet Project? / What was your inspiration for doing the Ballet Project?
The Ballet Project started as an experiment. I had an idea for ballet photos in the woods that was inspired by THIS photo taken by David Hobby.
I ended up liking what I came away with so much I decided to continue to shoot in other locations around the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions of upstate New York. Then at some point I realized I had something unique and might have wider appeal. So I created The Ballet Project. At the same time my daughters dance in a ballet school here in the Hudson Valley. I wanted to create images that depicted them in an almost story book scene so the rest of the world could see the vision I have of them. My goal was to create a fantasy world but retain the identity of the location. I wanted it to be obvious that these were shot locally. I really wanted to show the beauty of ballet along with the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. I hope someday these become keepsakes for my daughters.
I hope the viewer walks away with a sense of wonder. I hope they recognize the scene but see it in an entirely new way. The way I use lighting I am able to make the scene more saturated and intense, almost surreal, but still retain a sense of reality on the ballerinas. I guess you could say I strive to show the ballerinas in an idealized version of a local setting.
What type of lighting do you use?
Since I am often hiking in the woods to some of these locations most of the time I am using Nikon SB25 manual strobes along with a small softbox. If I am shooting in direct sun I’ll double up the strobes with no softbox.
Are all of the locations and girls in these images different?
All the locations are in different areas of the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions of upstate New York. I have a map of locations here…www.balletproject.com/map.html. The girls are my 3 daughters. Mostly my oldest though how is most agreeable to model.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue fine art?
I would recommend finding a project or subject that you can focus on and hone your vision on. Over time looking at that specific subject matter will force you to look at it in different ways to find more and more creative ways to get your imagery across. I still shoot for clients and do some commercial work but my personal work in the fine art direction is what most motivates and excites me and often my client work will improve because of my personal work and at times I am hired to shoot the same sort of portraits as the ballet project. Here is a recent example: