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The eloquent images of dance photographer Chris Nash go on show at artsdepot this week, writes Rosy Moorhead
In one image, a dancer in red loses herself in the passion of the dance against a striking landscape of orange and green. In another, a bare-chested dancer is captured mid-breathtaking leap. In a third, a woman descends from a violent, twisted throw into her partner’s arms.
The dance photography of Chris Nash is dramatic, highly theatrical, experimental and innovative, and he is bringing his touring exhibition, A Flash of Light, to artsdepot from the Victoria and Albert Museum department of theatre and performance.
“It’s a retrospective of 30 years of my work that I have co-curated, and concentrates on British contemporary dance,” explains Chris, 53.
“Dance and movement are a perfect match with photography – they’re both non-verbal art forms, both are highly visual and they take place in the imagination. And I like working with dancers, they’re very creative and generous.
Chris' photographic style is rather unique because of the nature of the work he is called upon to do.
“Because I get commissioned to do a lot of publicity shots for dance companies, I have to work with the dancers before the choreography’s complete or before the costumes have been made. So I collaborate with the choreographers and build an image with them.
"I use collage, lighting and composition and so on and try to look at dance in as many different ways as possible, I try never to repeat myself.”
The results, striking and very, very beautiful, are largely informed by his background in fine art. He discovered photography while he was an art student and, astoundingly, is entirely self-taught.
“I went to Goldsmiths School of Art and was making a lot of sculpture and life drawing there,” says Chris, from Norwood, “working from the figure and abstracting from it, and in a way I’m still doing that. I use light now as a medium, whereas before I used clay.”
A Flash of Light is a rare opportunity to see Chris' work. As well as his photography, the exhibition will feature advertising posters using his photos, two abstract video dance pieces created by Chris himself and a specially commissioned film of him at work. Accompanying the display will be quotes from choreographers and dancers on the power of Chris’ images and the inspiration for the pictures.
A Flash of Light: The Dance Photography of Chris Nash is at artsdepot, Tally Ho Corner, Nether Street, North Finchley from Friday, May 25 to Wednesday, July 18. Details: 020 8369 5454, www.artsdepot.co.uk