Award-winning drone photographer Brad Walls is back with another beautifully symmetrical photo series that recasts a familiar subject into an aerial perspective. His latest series invites the viewer to experience the beauty of ballet from above.
Walls tells PetaPixel that he was originally inspired to explore this subject by Olive Cotton’s famous 1935 image “Teacup Ballet.” He realized that, for the majority of people, they had only ever seen this subject photographed from a regular vantage point; and while top-down imagery of architecture and landscapes is exceedingly popular, top-down ballet fit right in to Walls’ trademark style of aerial portraiture. The challenge, says Walls, was to pay appropriate tribute to such a delicate artform.
“I had photographed people from above – including Olympians and models – and while those shots were very compelling, I knew here that combining such a prestigious art form with an alternate view would truly be the embodiment of my work,” says Walls. “It was imperative to pay homage to the art of Ballet, whilst at the same time adding a new, modern spin which incorporated positions and shapes that were beyond the traditional art form.”
He accomplished this, first, by choosing the appropriate subject: Montana Rubin from the Australian Ballet. He then sought out locations and “backgrounds” that would cast Rubin in the appropriate light… sometimes literally. The results are undeniably beautiful:
Of course, aerial photography poses its own, unique challenges as Rubin explained to PetaPixel over email:
At the second site shooting (site with the beautiful tiles), my drone wasn’t taking off due to being close to Sydney Airport… I had forgotten to apply for the permit to take off within a restricted area. We had to postpone the shoot till the next day once I had approval.
I feel this is something very unique to aerial photographers…
Just a fun anecdote that aerial photographers might relate to.
If you would like to see the full “Ballerine de l’Air” series for yourself or explore more of Walls’ impressive aerial photography, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram. You can also find his work in our recent feature of the 2020 Aerial Photography Awards, where Walls took first place in the Sports category.
Image credits: All photos by Brad Walls and used with permission.