The Creatives Take 4
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Monday, July 10, 2017
By Kent Barker Studio

Work on The Creatives series continues and has focused most recently on individuals involved in dance and theater.  As many of you know, I danced from age six and went to Joffrey Ballet as a scholarship student immediately after graduating from high school. Because of this, the performing arts are near and dear to my heart... and the opportunity to work with "theater people", a dream come true!

Danielle Georgiou is the founder of The Danielle Georgiou Dance Group.  The company website describes it as "a dance theater company that works within the ideas of contemporary dance and physical theater."  In short, she is an "avant-garde" dancer/choreographer that does not follow the tradition of contemporary dance.  Her work is really fun to experience and the group was selected as Best Dance Company for 2016 by the Readers of D Magazine and as 2015's Best Dance Troupe by the Dallas Observer. As a subject she was extremely creative and together we found an unusual pose for her to to strike. It's quirky and it speaks of her...and because of that, I love it! Learn more about her work here danielle georgiou dance.

Playwright Jonathan Norton was selected by the Dallas Observer as one of their 100 Dallas Creatives. He attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, earned his undergrad degree at Marymount Manhatten College and his masters from SMU. As a young playwright Jonathan received one of the first writing grants from the TACA Donna Wilhelm New works Fund, was a finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and had his play "My Tidy List of Terrors" workshopped in 2012 at the prestigious PlayPenn in Philadelphia. I found him to be a very smart and yet humble young man with a great sense of humor. We "clicked" immediately and this photo emerged from one of the first five images we made together. As the old saying goes..."if it ain't broke, don't fix it."   

Professional clown Russ Sharek has been described by reliable sources as a zen fool, benevolent supervillain, misanthropic community leader, clown father and Impish Cabaret Rasputin. He is a man that truly loves clowning and whose greatest desire is to remain a lifetime student in the world of eccentric and variety performance. The most interesting thing about photographing him was that as soon as he donned his costume...he was "in character" and did not talk!  We communicated via sign language and the entire session was a performance! Was that difficult?  Not in the least.  It was in fact one of the best performances I have ever photographed.  Learn more about Russ at CircusFreaks.org

Each time I photograph a new subject, I ask them to connect me with two or three new individuals they think would be a good fit for the series.  It's a wonderful process that enables the series to grow organically. Justin Locklear was recommended to me by dancer Danielle Georgiou.  Justin is her partner, both romantically and professionally. In addition to working with Danielle, Justin is also an actor, a director, a designer, a puppeteer, etc. Working with him was like working with ten different people all at the same time because he was truly a man of a thousand faces! As you might guess, there were many great images to choose from.  This was my favorite. 

I have been an ardent fan of Nycole Ray for years and the opportunity to photographer her was so exciting! For decades, she was a principal dancer with the Dallas Black Dance Theater. Bruce Wood even choreographed a piece just for her. Watching her perform was (and is) an electrifying experience because she has a presence that is enormous and commanding! Recently, she has shifted her focus from dancer to choreographer/creative director. She works hard and that made scheduling difficult.  I hung in however and we finally found an opening. My goal was to make an image of her that was a portrait first, but that still spoke to her profession as a dancer.  We both worked at it and in the end, this was my fav.

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2 Comments
Jeremy Green - These are all marvelous portraits! Just beautiful, elegant black & white imagery. Well done!
Skip Nall - Beautiful work Kent but who is surprised. I love the BW as well as the sets. Bravo. Encore. (Theater talk).