All photographs taken by and used with expressed permission from Jesús Chapa-Malacara.
Motion has always been Brooklyn-based photographer Jesús Chapa-Malacara‘s focus in many, if not most, of his photographs. A former contemporary ballet dancer himself, he knows and understands motion as well as sees the aesthetics in it that many won’t – whether it be from a small child in play or an athlete in training. And he’s learned to translate what he sees into photographs so that everyone else can appreciate it too.
Jesús loves and has a knack for capturing dances in his photographs but most recently, he has taken this talent into another level. He’s taken his focus from one part of dance to the other, lesser known one. Rather than taking the usual photos of dance moves or tricks, he’s now focusing on the in-between – the movement of a dancer between each position, and he’s figured out a way to show all these in-between movements in a single shot, without the help of Photoshop.
As improbable as it may seem, what you see in that photograph (and the ones below) is not the result of Photoshop but instead of true innovation in what today might be considered old-school photography. Thoughtful and creative lighting, extraordinary photo subjects, an exacting attention to detail and a lot of hard work (on my part as well as on the part of my dance friends).
To launch his new found technique, which he plans to pursue further through a Kickstarter campaign, he has released a stunning series called “Esprit de Corps.” Esprit de Corps features beautifully and artfully-captured photographs of some of the world’s best ballet dancers in motion. Each of the photographs in this series is as haunting as it is extraordinary, showing the fluid movements of each dancer as if time has slowed down considerably and then suddenly frozen, so that you see the ghosts of past movements surrounding a dancer in midst graceful motion.