We're used to seeing captivating aerial photography, but acclaimed drone photographer Brad Walls has pushed things to a new creative level with his latest series. This portfolio, titled ballerine de l'air (Ballerina from the air), is an interesting twist on classic portraits of ballet dancers. By using his drone, Walls manages to highlight different angles of their grace and beauty.
Walls was inspired by Olive Cotton's 1935 Tea cup ballet and began putting together an inspiration board based on the shadows and shapes of these dancers. He then took advantage of the downtime dancers now have due to COVID-19 and set up a shoot with Montana Rubin, a member of the Australian Ballet. The result is a set of magical images that speaks to the strength of their collaboration.
“The most rewarding part of the series was the opportunity to work with a like-minded artist and collaborate,” Walls tells My Modern Met. “There was fantastic synergy between Montana and I, pushing our creativity levels in the ultimate search of the most visually appealing shots while paying homage to the art of ballet.”
By keeping the colors neutral and the settings bare, Walls hones in the dancer's body and her movement, while paying homage to Cotton's photo. The duo plays with both traditional and non-traditional forms in order to achieve something unique.
“It was imperative to pay homage to the art of ballet, while at the same time adding a new, modern spin which incorporated positions and shapes that were beyond the traditional art form,” Walls explains. For instance, when Walls asked Rubin to interact with the shadows that her movements created, it made for a magical moment. “Watching an artist truly lose herself in her art form was truly a spine-tingling moment and a moment that a photographer can end up waiting many years to experience—if they get to experience it at all.”
For his part, Walls hopes that his work will allow people to see the creative possibilities of drone photography and the alternative perspective that it can bring. Certainly, if this series is any indication, Walls has more than done his part to show the artistry of the medium.