Concrete Ballet

Yesterday I met up with the talented Tania Nicole Clarke to do a dance photo shoot. She has among other things directed Sweet Charity and Attempts on Her Life, and produced the dance show Evolution. We decided to start out at St John’s, and met up outside the porter’s lodge. There are some really nice locations around the Bridge of Sighs with beautiful arches.

I really like these windows, and wanted a backlit photo of Tania, so we spent a disproportionate amount of time here, but I am really happy with the result.
This light is just magical. By increasing the exposure the light really started to glow. I love the pose and how she is lit.
Tania is standing right next to the window, to get this beautiful side light.
St John’s has this really beautiful gate at the backs. First we shot Tania standing in the gate, but then realised that if she came closer to the camera she would fill more of the gateway. This also helped the separation with the tree line.
Carrying multiple lenses can get heavy, so I was a bit lazy and only brought my 50 mm lens with me. That constrained the way I could frame the photos, for this shot I really would have liked the 35 mm lens to show more of the windows to the right. Here I was pressing up against the pillar behind me to get all three windows in the frame. I love the colours, the light and Tania’s pose.


We had thrown around a few ideas for where to photograph, but one thing we wanted to do was place the photos in Cambridge.
Bridge of Sighs always makes for great photos, add a dancer like Tania, and you have a bit of afternoon magic.
As the sun was setting we headed over to a nearby car park lot roof. I like the Cambridge skyline, and wanted to include St John’s chapel in the background.
These unbalanced poses are so much fun to do. We added a bit of hair tossing into the mix to make it even more dynamic.


This was a really fun photo shoot, I liked all the creative poses that Tania rendered beautifully. It was also fun to mix two different locations, classical and urban. If you liked these photos, have a look at a few similar ballet blog posts. Many thanks to Tania for a great photo shoot!

– Johannes

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