L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Les hommes dansants - male dancers of the Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris, photographs by Matthew Brookes

 Germain Louvet, Hugo Marchand, Axel Ibot, and Loïck Pireaux.
Daniel Stokes and Hugo Marchand.
Germain Louvet and Hugo Marchand.
Josua Hoffalt and Mathieu Ganio.
Germain Louvet, Loïck Pireaux, .... and Yvon Demol.
Mickaël Lafon and....
Loïck Pireaux and Hugo Marchand.
 Hugo Marchand.
Germain Louvet.
Germain Louvet.
Adrien Dantau.
Josua Hoffalt.
Axel Ibot, Antonio Conforti, Julien Meyzindi, and Cyril Mitilian.

Wanting to capture something beyond an array of typical classical ballet poses, Brookes asked the dancers to think of birds falling from the sky:“They got it straight away—on the first jump in fact! I didn’t know how to express what I wanted so it was the first idea that came into my head. My photography is very much about being open to ideas that come to me when I connect with a subject. It’s a based on gut instinct. [...] I now see dancers as artists and creators in their own right. I was under the impression that dancers only followed what a choreographer was instructing them to do but I realized very quickly that their own interpretation of ideas was extraordinary.”


 Hugo Marchand. (This is a more recent portrait, not part of the original project.) 
Antoine Kircher.
Antoine Kircher, Hugo Marchand, and....
Loïck Pireaux, Hugo Marchand, Daniel Stokes, Axel Ibot, Yvon Demol, Antoine Kircher, and Germain Louvet.

“I photographed them more like athletes than pure dancers. It wasn’t about so much the art of dance but more about the strength of dance. Their bodies are so indicative of bodies of strength and hard work. [...] The more I learned about it, the more I was fascinated and the more I became aware of how brilliant these ballet dancers are — what incredible athletes and artists they are. [...] Each one had an incredibly different spirit. They were also gentle souls and kind and generous people with their time. [...] They are from this world where everything has to be criticized and analyzed and it can always be better. But at the same time, they still have the heart to compliment each other. That was just really lovely to see.”



English-born, South Africa-raised, self-taught photographer Matthew Brookes specializes in fashion editorials and portraiture for publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Interview.  In 2015, after spending a year photographing twenty male dancers, members of the Paris Opera Ballet, he published a book of the resulting images, "Les danseurs." Almost all of what I've shared here comes from that body of work. The dancers he worked with include:

Hervé Moreau, Josua Hoffalt, Mathieu Ganio, Yvon Demol, Antonio Conforti, Grégory Dominiak, Axel Ibot, Julien Meyzindi, Hugo Marchand, Loïck Pireaux, Germain Louvet, Florimond Lemort Dit Lorieux, Mickaël Lafon, Antoine Kircher, Cyril Mitilian, Jérémy-Loup Quer, Adrien Dantau, and Daniel Stokes.

Lastly, and totally unrelated to the above project - it's just because I love the image - Friedemann Vogel, a portrait by Brookes for Vogue Russia.


I should mention that I'm not 100% certain of all the captions; I had to do most of the identifications myself and I'm not familiar with any of these gentlemen.

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