Tria Signa

This past Friday I met up with Marvin Kouassi, Joakim Pham and Alva Norgren who have completed the first out of three years at Balettakademien. The weather forecast had been uncertain, promising either sun, clouds or rain, so we had packed umbrellas just in case. It turned out we got a bit of everything. When we arrived at the amphitheatre in Rålambshovsparken it was like high summer, with warm sunlight. From time to time the sun would be interrupted by clouds, but it was really nice and warm. Slowly the sun gave way to more and more clouds, then the clouds darkened, and at the end of the photoshoot we were treated to a heavy summer rain.

Marvin Kouassi delivered lots of really strong poses right away. Normally it takes a little while for the dancers to warm up and get going, which gives me a bit of time to warm up as well, but Marvin started strong and just kept on going which was really great.
Marvin Kouassi
Joakim Pham. For Joakim’s first set of poses I found cropping in closer made them stronger, as he was working with smaller movements and details that you miss if you watch them from too large a distance.
Joakim Pham. I don’t think Joakim planned for the shadow on his chest, but it adds interest to the photo.
Joakim Pham. I try and capture the character of each dancer, giving them freedom to showcase their strength and style.
Alva Norgren
Alva Norgren Darkening this photo of Alva made the lighting of her face much more interesting.
Marvin Kouassi. Sorting through the photos and picking the best ones is really hard when there are so many good ones, but this was one of my favourite photos of Marvin.
Marvin Kouassi

Next on the agenda was group photos with two or three dancers, which is always much harder than it seems but can be so rewarding once the puzzle pieces fall into place.

Marvin and Alva. I like how the different skin tones complement each other. Here we were trying to create repeated lines and symmetries.
Marvin and Alva. Once we had established a base pose, we brought in some emotions.
Joakim, Marvin and Alva. They had brought matching outfits for the group photos. Before our photoshoot they had met up at Balettakademien to try out a few ideas, and it showed. The more prepared the better photos and the more variation in the poses.
Joakim, Alva and Marvin

For the next part we decided to head to Smedsuddsbadet, which is just a short walk away. By this time the sun was mostly replaced by a cloud cover, which gave us a softer light.

Marvin Kouassi. This little sheltered area has fewer waves and ripples, allowing for more of a reflection than the nearby beach. I also like the framing that the opening of light in the background provides both in the sky and in the reflection.
Marvin Kouassi
Marvin Kouassi
Alva Norgren. Here we wanted to match Alva’s pose to the surrounding branches of the fallen tree.
Joakim Pham. Playing around with the photos in post processing we noticed that this picture looked more intriguing upside down.

And then the rain came, completely transforming the landscape. You can see the sudden change from the second to the first picture which are taken less than 30 seconds apart. It completely poured down, but then as suddenly as it came it stopped again. Then it came back a few more times, and each time we rushed into the water to get more photos with the rain landscape and the hazy background.

Alva Norgren
Alva Norgren. The worse the weather, the cooler the photos. But the downpour did not last too long, so we had to be quick to make the most of it.
Marvin Kouassi
Marvin, Joakim and Alva. It was fun to see how well they worked together in the water. Improvising interesting shapes is a lot harder than it looks. You need to make sure you are all synchronised, and in a pose at the same time, while you still need to drift and keep searching for variations of the current shape that has been created.
Joakim, Marvin and Alva
Marvin, Joakim and Alva. I have started to experiment more with closer crops, trying to highlight some details in the poses.
Alva Norgren. A fast boat passed by, giving us a bit of waves, and making the photo more dynamic.
Alva Norgren. At a first glance this looks like Alva is under water.
Alva and Joakim improvising together.
Alva and Joakim

Behind the scenes video:

The shifting weather meant we got so many different looks for free, and the trio made great use of the opportunity presented by the weather gods. It was nice to start with some warm sun, and when our water supply was almost out, it was almost a relief to get some fresh rain to cool us off. If we had magical powers that could control the weather, then I think we would have picked the same weather that we got. It was a fantastic day!

Many thanks to Marvin, Joakim and Alva for a really fun photoshoot!

Instagram: Marvin, Joakim, Alva, Johannes

— Johannes

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