Bettie CL Photography | To Life – Dance It
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To Life – Dance It

I’m currently exploring the creative possibilities that cross fertilization between artists using different media could produce. My photo-project, To Life; Dance It, in collaborations with Dawn Garisch, novelist, poet, dancer and medical doctor is nearing completion, and will soon be self-published as a photo-poetry book. The initial aim, to document a multi-talented person, gradually shifted between setting out and finishing the shoot and post-production processing.

When I asked Dawn to interpret some of her poems in dance form, I had no idea that the process would lead to an intense emotional and transformative experience for me. Finally it became a therapeutic process as well.  Photographing a model who, through dancing, was processing her own traumatic experiences changed me gradually from the distant position into, metaphorically speaking, the dancing figure. Her feelings became mine. It was as if I could sense exactly what she was going through. As if I’ve been observing a mirror-image of my own emotional state. While photographing and especially during the weeks of post-production, the process became even more intensely  inward-looking. Maybe this compassionate observation was triggered by a robbery attack earlier in the year. Through identifying with “the other”, the dancer, I was able to feel safe while entering the  repressed shadows that incident had painted in on my inner canvas.

How this played itself out is described in greater detail in the book.

The dances took place on three occasions, before until after,sunrise at three different venues. Indoors as well as on the slope of a mountain, covered with indigenous Cape fynbos overlooking a village and the sea. With slow shutter speed I tried to capture both the dancer’s movement and the ephemeral nature of  images evoked in her poetry. Images that became overlaid with new ones from my sensor.

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