Highlights of 2020

2020 has been a year shaped by the Corona virus which originated in Wuhan China and spread across the globe. Many countries in the world closed down, however, Sweden took a measured course with social distancing and working from home, while keeping the society open. This was also the year I took a partial leave of absence from my University work as a researcher to work as a consultant to finance the refurnishing of my apartment. So it was an unusual year in many ways, but luckily there was still room for a bit of photography.

Emily Slawski Samuelson from the Royal Swedish Ballet. When I look back at a photo like this I wonder how much is intentional, and how much is a bit of luck that all the lines aligned. Hours and hours of dancing create a richer representation of muscles and body in their minds, so often when trying things I tell them to trust their training and intuition, and not to overthink the poses.
Kale Lazarick, who this year started at Alberta Ballet in Canada. He is a natural when it comes to creating great poses, and it is more than once I have shown some of his pictures to other dancers as inspiration.
Elisa Lons, painting by Elaine Chu. This was a fun collaboration where we combined three different forms of art. I hope to do more of these collaborations once Corona disappears and the flight restrictions from Hong Kong to Europe are lifted.
Heidi Salminen from the Royal Swedish Ballet. Some dancers are used to warmer climate, but Heidi being from Finland embraces the cold. We have a new fun project in the planning for the beginning of this year.
Tilda Kristiansson flying. Can you figure out how this photo was taken? We have also been making several dance videos lately, which you can find on my youtube channel.
Emily Slawski Samuelson. We only had a few short moments to get this shot before the swan disappeared behind the reeds.
Nathalie Wiberg. Here we were playing around with a tilt-shift-lens. If you look closely you can see that Nathalie’s upper body is in focus, while the legs are blurry. That is not photoshoot, instead it was created in camera.
Fanni Pennanen gracefully flying among the clouds. She graduated from the Royal Swedish Ballet School this year.
Inka Keränen likes different, and often a bit quirky shapes. Always fun to see what she comes up with. When sorting through these photos we liked this pose and composition but not the funny face Inka made, so we tried cropping the photo and this was the result. Sometimes showing less gives more room for a story and makes the picture more interesting. One thing I hope to be able to do more in future photoshoots is to create a story with a photo.
Elisa Lons, another of my regular collaborators, is amazing in front of the camera. Here we were playing around with the skirt, trying to create the shape of a flower. We have been doing several dance videos lately, that you can find on my youtube channel youtube.com/johannes
Lea Sjövall in what might have been this year’s wettest photoshoot. We had torrential rain, and despite having rain clothes on I was drenched. Luckily the plastic bags over camera and lens kept them safe. Bad weather and good dancers make for amazing pictures.
Kentaro Mitsumori from the Royal Swedish Ballet. Normally I only pick one photo from a photoshoot but there were so many beautiful photos to choose from so I made an exception for this photoshoot.
Minji Nam and Kentaro Mitsumori. You can see the process of creation taking place, Minji’s focus is on their outstretched arms and she has not yet placed the left arm. There is something living and beautiful about this.
Madeline Woo from the Royal Swedish Ballet. We had so much fun and such great weather that day. Click the link above to see more photos from our photoshoot.
Malin Hessner. Playing with reflections and symmetries is always fun!
Erik Lind. I lost count how many jumps it took to get this particular photo, but Erik is a fighter and then finally we got this shape. The moon in the background is photoshopped in from a NASA image.
Vania Kadir might well have been the best dressed dancer this year. She showed up with an amazing wardrobe. Again there were so many good photos to choose from so click the image to see more of her, and the other dancers from that photoshoot.
Alma Faringer floating among the ruins of a derelict house.
David Lagerqvist. I wish I had a video of this jump, he lept up with great force, and then relaxed into this pose at the peak of the jump. Photographed under Tranebergsbron which has great light regardless of weather.
Jennie Thomasson. It is not always easy to find the flow, but when you get there you get some amazing results. This was at the end of the photoshoot, the sun was setting and all the pieces just fell into place.
Panayiotis Dionysakopoulos from the Royal Swedish Ballet. When I see this photo I think of Neo from the Matrix floating over the water. Not sure he did that in the movie, but this is what it would have looked like.
Emma Haugen from Balettakademien. When photographing I tell the dancers that it takes a few shots to get started, and to figure out what poses look good. Then they do things like this.
Sarah Plate Ellis has done quite a bit of modelling before, and it shows. She was great in front of the camera and had brought a lot of beautiful outfits for us to work with.
Cornelia Grönlund. With this being the year of Corona many of my photoshoots were done in Näsbypark. So it was fun when we got a chance to photograph in a different location.
Lina Börlin with an amazingly bendy back in the Green Room.
Stephanie Wallén and Jennifer Wallén. I bought some new lighting equipment at the end of the year for the Green Room. Here we were experimenting with silhouette photos.
Matthea Pedersen was in Stockholm for an audition, so we managed to squeeze in a photoshoot at the end of the year.

Many thanks to all the dancers for so many fun collaborations. Looking forward to what 2021 will bring!

Gott nytt år!

If you want to see more, then check out the highlights of previous years here or browse the list of blog posts on the front page.

— Johannes

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