Different paths led to the same destination for four ballet dancers who successfully segued into second careers as dance photographers. Along the way, they discovered that while they needed to develop technical experience and business acumen, the dedication, concentration, attention to detail and artistic eye that served their performaing careers were immediately transferable from ballet to photography.
The ephiphany for Pacific Northwest Ballet Soloist Angela Sterling came in the wings of the New York State Theater where famed Balanchine photographer Steven Caras told her that the only people who should be photographing dance are dancers. Her first photographs were of the stage as well as orchaestra and audience seats but she was encouraged that she at least caught the dancers at the peak moments of movement. It was the start of an international career that also combined dancers and fashion photography.
Sterling, despite fond feelings about her first camera, appreciates the immediate turn around of digital photography. She deletes all but the best photos from a dress rehearsal, works overnight with her computer and by morning presents the company with a book complete with contact sheets, DVD's, and prints for lobby displays for Opening Night.
Sterling divides her time between Europe and the U.S. with regular clients that include PNB, Dutch National Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Dresden SemperOper and Boston Ballet. Along with her live work she works regularely with her favorite dancers utilizing their style and personality in fashion images.
'Ballet and photography are both visual arts. Dancers who photograph dance simply see more' Sterling concludes, ' But you have to love photography the same way you love dancing. If you love it, you do it the very best you can and always dive wholeheartedly into the deep end.'