Award winning Aerial Photographer Brad Walls and The English National Ballet collaborated to produce a one-of-a-kind photographic series from the air.
Conducted at the newly designed English National Ballet studio in Canning Town, the photoshoot involved 6 of English National Ballets Corp de Ballet dancers, Bree Foad, Lulu Toner, Daisy Wales, Anna-Babette Winkler, Paige Bestington and Eireen Evrard.
Walls’s aim for the project was to disrupt traditional ballet photography, shifting its focus from shooting individual dancers to photographing the ballet corp. He says “Most ballet photography focuses on a singular dancer in a dramatic pose. To me, the beauty of ballet is rather the opposite, it’s delicacy and teamwork.”
Using only a drone for his photoshoots, Walls created a series of 14 images that emphasise harmonious shapes and patterns captured from a height of 5-10 metres above the ground. Prior to the shoot, he sketches his ideas on his iPad, stating, “I dedicate weeks to researching ballet poses on Pinterest and figuring out how to integrate them into my compositions.”
Everyday items are also a source of inspiration for the artist, the image ‘Hanging Teacups’ was conceptualised the night before the shoot as he says “I stayed in an airbnb in London that had coffee mugs displaying on wall hooks. The way they were hanging reminded me of the 4th position in ballet.”
Walls’s Trademark techniques, symmetry and geometry can be seen throughout the series and most prominently in the image ‘Hibiscus’ as he states “Geometry provides a hint at consistency in an ever inconsistent world. Innately, humans are drawn to it. Me, maybe more so”.
One of the dancers Anna-Babbete described the experience of the photoshoot “Ballet is not usually viewed from above. I remember the drone humming over our heads and thinking ‘oh my, what is this angle going to look like”.
In 2024, Walls intends to feature this series along with other photoshoots from the New York City Ballet and Australian Ballet in a coffee table book.