Photographer Anna Ulman captures the dramatic beauty of dance in her dynamic portraits of performers in motion. Based in Marbella, Spain, Ulman takes advantage of charming cobblestone streets and coastline views as both compelling settings and as the inspiration for the movements that her subjects make. Sometimes, the dancers blend into the urban environment and perform their graceful actions in street clothes. But in other instances, they don their leotards and pointe shoes in places we wouldn’t expect, such as the beach. The sand becomes part of the dance, flashing in the air as a ballerina whips her hair back to great effect.
Ulman was inspired to photograph dancers after seeing the creative possibilities with this type of picture making. “I always loved shooting outdoors and making creative photos by freezing interesting moments,” she tells My Modern Met. “Once I saw a photo somewhere on the internet where a ballerina was dancing in the middle of the street. I was amazed by the flexibility of her body and her graceful moves. I realized that if I combine my photography skills with the talent of a ballerina together, we would have endless possibilities for making art.”
Finding this genre of photography both challenging and fun, Ulman approaches her images with some planning but leaves room for spontaneity. “I always try to plan the shoot ahead but the best ideas usually come to me unexpectedly,” she admits. “Each dancer is unique and they all inspire me with different ideas.”