The Performance of Pictorialist Dance Photography

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Looking to the widely disseminated pictorialist photos of Waldemar Eide (Nor-way) and Henry B. Goodwin (Sweden) featuring the Russian ballerina Vera Fokina and the Swedish ballerina Jenny Hasselquist, the article is an enquiry into the role of the dancer in the pictorialist studio and the contribution of picto-rialist photography to the turning point when the aesthetics of dance was being reconsidered, the dancing body reconfigured, and photography emerged into an art form in its own right. Taking inspiration from the socio-material approach of photography historian Elizabeth Edwards, the analysis downplays the ques-tion of content in favor of a focus on the material practices in the photographic studio at the level of the photographer as well as the dancer-model posing before the camera. Placed within a discourse of new materialism, performance and performativity, it moreover considers the resulting photos as material ob-jects that perform in continuing processes of meaning production. An example of the latter discussed at the end of the text is Harald Giersing’s abstract paint-ing ’The Dancer’ based on a photo of Jenny Hasselquist as The Dying Swan.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Theatre Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)138-161
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Dance pictorialism, modern ballet, material practices, Vera Fokina, Jenny Hasselquist, Mikhail Fokine, Waldemar Eide, Henry B. Goodwin, Harald Giersing

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