From the first experiments of Eadweard Muybridge in the nineteenth century to today’s astonishing images created by digital cameras, many artists have tried to capture human motion. But putting tri-dimensional reality on a bi-dimensional surface is not simple. In its very nature, photography always demands that the photographer frame the image: each image must offer a different interpretation of seeing and imagining reality. Dance photography today is extremely varied, and gaining in interest and popularity. Just think of the many ways advertisements use pictures and videos of dance or dancers. I have chosen the three photographers whose work is displayed here for their unique artistic eye, which bring together two opposing aspects. The pictures concentrate either on the performance or the performer, on design or movement.

Jane, 40 weeks pregnant, London © Simone Ghera
Jane, 40 weeks pregnant, London
© Simone Ghera
Jane, 6 months later, London © Simone Ghera
Jane, 6 months later, London
© Simone Ghera
Sebnem, Staatsballett, Berlin © Simone Ghera
Sebnem, Staatsballett, Berlin
© Simone Ghera

Based in Rome, Simone Ghera draws parallels between his works and choreographic composition. Ghera is an architect with an interest in dance photography. His pictures connect dance and architecture. With his project Dancer Inside, he toured several major European cities, and has worked with ballet dancers in major iconic buildings in each city he visits, by collaborating with ballet companies and schools. The slanted perspective of most of Ghera's images allows for a rediscovery of space, and thereby a rediscovery of the dancer's body. I find the first two photographs particularly interesting because recreating the same shot of a pregnant dancer 'before' and 'after', brings attention to a difficult topic in the dance world. 

<i>In-side-out</i>, choreographed by Zoe Cobb © Tom Medwell
In-side-out, choreographed by Zoe Cobb
© Tom Medwell
Hofesh Shechter Company, <i>Political Mother</i> poster © Tom Medwell
Hofesh Shechter Company, Political Mother poster
© Tom Medwell

London-based photographer Tom Medwell takes a vastly different approach. While working as the photographer for important dance company, Medwell alternates commissioned work and personal creation. Medwell is interested in the nature of theatre: his images propose an experience quite different to that of immersive theatre, as the dancer's performance is directed towards the camera. His work captures both the movement of the dancers and also the narrative they are trying to portray. Each shot captures a suspension in the narrative act, which Medwell presents to an idealised audience. For example, Medwell's image for Hofesh Shechter's piece Political Mother identifies the physicality of the choreographed piece. 

Daria Klimentova, the White Swan, backstage © Siân Trenberth
Daria Klimentova, the White Swan, backstage
© Siân Trenberth
Daria Klimentova, the Black Swan, Swan Lake © Siân Trenberth
Daria Klimentova, the Black Swan, Swan Lake
© Siân Trenberth
The third photographer, Siân Trenberth, is also based in the UK, and more precisely in Cardiff. Her documentary style features dancers in rehearsal and backstage situations. At the centre of her works are the performers themselves, their athleticism and their artistry. With her images, Trenberth tells the story of the dancers' experience, at the same time giving a glimpse of the backstage life that the audience so rarely get access to. I have chosen two pictures of the same ballet: one taken in backstage – the Black Swan looking at herself in the mirror – and one in the rehearsal – the White Swan wearing brightly-coloured leg warmers and awaiting her turn on stage. In both cases the dancer is captured in a particular moment, in which one can glimpse the artist beneath the role.