Photographer Jon Green talks to Nina Levy about his fascination with capturing the essence of movement.
THE name Jon Green is inextricably linked with dance. The West Australian photographer is probably best known to dance aficionados for his 12 years of work photographing West Australian Ballet (2001-2013), but his longest standing relationship
is with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where he has been photographing dancers and other performing arts students for 28 years.
Green and I go back a fair way too. Back in 2009, when I was working for Ausdance WA, I had the privilege of watching Green working on a shoot with local dancer Jacqui Claus. What fascinated me was the way Green directed Claus, and the way she responded. The sense of energy and purpose in the studio was palpable; the process captivating to watch, a performance in itself.
So when I catch up with Green at his home studio in 2018 and he reveals that he is experimenting with what he describes as “using elements of choreography in directing the movement or capturing movement”, it seems to me a natural progression.
Traditionally, dance photography is about capturing a moment, about pausing movement. Green explains that this approach works better for classical ballet than contemporary dance. “Even though there’s a movement phrase [in classical ballet], there’s one particular point where the photo is correct from a technical point of view,” he says. Contemporary dance
is different, he continues. “There could be a whole lot of different ‘correct’ points within one phrase. So if there’s a beautiful 10 to 20 second phrase of movement, I try to put all that in one exposure… and have a bit of a go at choreography myself.” . . .
This is an extract from Nina Levy's interview with Jon Green. Read the full story in the April/May issue of Dance Australia... out now! Buy the new issue at your favourite magazine retailer or purchase an online copy via the Dance Australia app or subscribe here.
Pictured top: Annelies Colman, photographed by Jon Green for "EVEolution Photography Project" (2010).