Martha Graham -artist influence

Martha Graham is an American dancer and choreographer. She had her own dance style movement ‘the Graham technique’ this was based on the opposition between contraction and release. It’s known for its uniquely dramatic and expressive qualities. This is what drew me too Graham as an influence. Her body positioning is so dramatic that it is eye catching, its very figurative and straight , transforming her body into shapes. This is something I want to re create with my model. I feel like this would look well with the shapes and form of the building architecture and again work in relationship with creating a dynamic and stronger image. Helping portraying architecture further than just a fashion shoot.

‘ Contraction and Release: The desire to highlight a more base aspect of human movement led Graham to create the “contraction and release”, for which she would become known for. Each movement could separately be used to express either positive or negative, freeing or constricting emotions depending on the placement of the head. The contraction and release were both the basis for Graham’s weighted and grounded style, which is in direct opposition to classical ballet techniques that typically aim to create an illusion of weightlessness. To counter the more percussive and staccato movements, Graham eventually added the spiral shape to the vocabulary of her technique to incorporate a sense of fluidity ‘

She collaborated with Japanese artist and photographer Soichi Sunami where they created iconic photographs of modern dance

Soichi Sunami

Sunami is a modernist photographer, influenced by the pictorialist movement. He’s best known for his photographs of modern dancers, one being Martha Graham.

These are some of the images that he has taken of dancers, what I like in reference to my own work is that the posing of the model matches the style of clothing and emphasizes each other. The image looks stronger and dynamic and more structural. This is exactly what feel I want to my images and when shooting I will look at how the models positioning will work in relation to the architectural space around her and how her body positioning will emphasise and work in relation to the design of the clothes, e.g asymmetrical shapes.


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