Walls headed to the newly designed English National Ballet studio in Canning Town in London and worked with six ballet dancers from the English National Ballets Corp de Ballet, including Bree Foad, Lulu Toner, Daisy Wales, Anna-Babette Winkler, Paige Bestington, and Eireen Evrard.
With his project, Walls aimed to “disrupt traditional ballet photography” and shift the perspective from focusing on individual dancers to photographing the entire corp.
“Most ballet photography focuses on a singular dancer in a dramatic pose. To me, the beauty of ballet is rather the opposite, it’s delicacy and teamwork,” Walls says.
To photograph multiple dancers simultaneously, Walls utilized a drone for his photoshoots. He created a series of 14 images, all shot from five to 10 meters (roughly 16 to 33 feet) above the floor.
Walls meticulously planned each of his shots on his iPad. “I dedicated weeks to researching ballet poses on Pinterest and figuring out how to integrate them into my compositions,” Walls explains.
Everyday items inspire some of the compositions. For example, the image ‘Hanging Teacups’ was conceptualized just the day before the photoshoot.
“I stayed in an Airbnb in London that had coffee mugs displayed on wall hooks. The way they were hanging reminded me of the fourth position in ballet,” Walls says.
Symmetry and geometry are on full display in his new image ‘Hibiscus’.
“Geometry provides a hint at consistency in an ever-inconsistent world. Innately, humans are drawn to it. Me, maybe more so,” explains Walls.
“Ballet is not usually viewed from above. I remember the drone humming over our heads and thinking, ‘Oh my, what is this angle going to look like?” says dancer Anna-Babette Winkler of the photoshoot.
Walls has also employed aerial perspectives with the New York City Ballet in an in-progress photo series. Next year, Walls will feature his English National Ballet series alongside his work with the New York City Ballet and the Australian Ballet in a coffee table book.
PetaPixel has featured Brad Walls’ photography on numerous occasions, so make sure to check out his other works such as a his squash court series, synchronized swimming photos, minimalist photos of swimming pools, and unique Olympic sports images — all captured from the aerial perspective.
Image credits: Brad Walls