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Burn the Floor pre show Circle

Over the past two months Tracy and I have been photographing Burn the Floor which has been in San Francisco’s beautiful Post Street Theatre. Although my first love for this craft is street shooting, I make the majority of my photographic income doing theatrical work. So when I was approached about the possibility of shooting their performance, I was pleased. I had no idea what the show was about, nor did I know anything about the cast. In the beginning I was interested in shooting the show to further improve my ability to shoot high movement, low light situations to improve my ability to shoot on the street.

Back in January of 2007 I had the opportunity to shoot Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango when they appeared in San Francisco. I produced a book of that event, Moments of Passion, which in turn was the reason I was contacted about the opportunity to shoot Burn the Floor. As I photographed BTF for the first time I was in awe of the sheer talent and discipline of the cast members. They exhibited an athleticism and grace which I had not experienced in other dance performances and found myself having to concentrate so that I was not swept away in their performance. I had to force myself to remember I was there to photograph.

And then I offered to produce a book for their producer, Harley Medcalf. I made it clear that the book would be from the dancer’s perspective, as they are the heart and soul of the show. And with each show I became more invested in the cast as people, more so than performers. Little by little I found I was allowing myself to get to know each individual as people over performers, some better than others. I was taken by the camaraderie of the cast, their genuine care and respect for one another.

With only two weeks left before they go to their next venue I now find that they will leave a large hole in my own life. I will sorely miss each of them, their friendship and the inspiration I receive each and every time we intertwine our art forms. This experience is one that I shall never forget and part of me wishes I had never made such a personal investment. But what I have discovered is that by doing so I have become a better individual first and as well as a more well rounded emerging artist.

Nic, Peta, Bobby, Giselle, Catherine, Louise, Giorgio, Bruce, Scot, Derek, Sharna, Sasha, Mel, Jessica, Clare, Katarina, Bret, Henry, Henry, Sarah, Little Sarah, Tristan, Kieren, Peta, Damien, Damon, Becca and Jeremy thank you. Harley from our very first conversation you warned me that they would work their way into my life, you were right. And I am thankful.

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Hey Mark,

I’ve been crazy busy so have had little time to check out your updates. Clearly you are doing well and having a great time – I’m really happy for you.

One thing that kept crossing my mind as I read your blog is the fact that a real artist, at least the really good ones, are always open to learning and to being “invested” in what they do, clearly “you are there.”

I like the window series – it also reminds me that this “hobby” we enjoy takes a moment to get hooked and a lifetime to master. What a rush!!!!

Best regards