05 January 2013

Old Man Dances

Modified from a message to a photographer friend:

I was thinking of you today while doing my warm-up and shooting a video study... I'd very much like to meet with you to discuss some ideas for a collaboration.  
As I age into my 61-year-old body and come to terms with ever-changing modes of moving and capturing that movement on camera, I form new concepts about "embodied grace" and ponder the possibilities for myself as subject for the camera. I was realizing today how much I still need to be seen as a mover... not from an egotistical place but simply from acknowledging that I've spent 40 years of my life practicing the art of public introspection, i.e. finding a deeply personal way of communicating my/the human condition such that every move I make is conceived and executed for the eye of the beholder. How to make the private visible.... along the lines of Shakespeare's soliloquies or Samuel Beckett's one-man plays...

So,  where could we meet half-way? What is it that I do that might serve your evolution as a photojournalist/photographic artist? I always believed that my screendance was about making the visceral visual, and vice versa. I practice the art of the visual body and the visceral eye, attempting to contain both simultaneously in the double act of movement improvisation for the camera then editing it for the screen. Most of my work has been with stationary video camera. I am so eager to move for the moving camera, whether that camera be video or still... 
I imagine ways of finding that meeting ground.
Back to the beginning, I've been working on some little studies lately that explore my aging body, or the psyche of a man my age vs. pretending to be heroically young and able to do anything. Ha! I'll send you some links to these:
Jacob's Dance: I brought in the orchard ladder, moved furniture and rolled up the rug in the living room of our home, then improvised three dances to a solo violin piece I'd heard on CBC Radio that day. Who is this old codger? The ladder suggested the Old Testament figure of Jacob, who dreamed of a ladder to heaven. No wrestling scene here; rather, the ambivelence of a mere mortal aspiring towards something higher, as the weathered body's internal ladder/spine creaks and warps from wear and the passing of time. I made three versions of this piece and am still not entirely satisfied. Perhaps I'll re-shoot this outdoors or in a real video studio. The music is terrific. 

Portraits for iPhone: After my swim and warm-up barre yesterday, I propped up my iPhone on the windowsill, placed an old theater flat behind me and shot four brief improvs. When I sat down at my laptop and began playing in editing, the four suggested a sequence--one at a time, with variations in effects--rather than a triptych or multi-frame configuration. But I had to try a collage at the end. Maybe the eye needs time to grasp single bodies in motion before it can take in so much information of all bodies moving at once? 

A Seasonal Offering: And lest I forget, I quickly shot (on iPhone again) and assembled a New Year's message, dancing to a section from Bach's Musical Offering. (Memories of dancing José Limon's Choreographic Offering to that music while in the Limon Company.) The camera lost focus with the some of the long shots of me dancing in the background trio, but I made the most of the dreamy quality. It's all in my head anyways, right?