Dance As Art_The New York Photography Project. Interview with Kevin Richardson

1. When did your passion for photography begin and how did it all’ happening?

To be honest, I never really liked taking photographs. I would never take any pictures on holidays while everyone else was and the only time I was around a camera was in front of it as a bodybuilder. I have a personal training business and one day I needed some photos for my website and decided that instead of hiring someone I would just buy a good camera and take the pictures myself. Big mistake, as those were the worse shots ever taken- the color was just awful and it looked nothing what I imagined it would!!! I vowed that I would learn to take better photographs and started shooting landscapes and somewhere along the line I got hooked!

2. I was blown away by the pictures of the dancers and by the fusion between the dancers and the city.How do you choose the right spot?

Most of the locations for the project are places that I myself frequent, or have frequented in the past, so I have an idea of what the location look like and the lighting that I would want there as well. When walking around I am always looking for that location with just the right angle and you can see me at times stopping in the middle of the street in New York City if I see a spot that has potential.

3. Among the many artistic expressions why did you choose Dance?

I love comic books, it’s how I learned to read and was my first introduction to art and what was fascinating to me was that all the characters, Spiderman, Batman and the like, were all drawn in positions that only a dancer would be able to easily replicate. I could see that the artists often used dancers as their inspiration for a lot of the moves, and so I wanted to have a real life version of what you see in the pages of comic books. And dancers fit the bill perfectly.

4. How do you choose the dancers involved in your project?

I have an application form on the website and the dancers apply by sending a brief biography, some photographs and why they would like to be part of the project. So far I have had well over 1,000 applicants and it can be hard as I so get so many really talented dancers applying. I have really been overwhelmed to be honest by the level of talent that I have been fortunate enough to work with and I am always looking for new faces.

5. Did you feel any emotional connection with any of the places you took picture in?If so,why?

Each location holds some memories for me. Living here in New York over the span of 22 years has some with the accumulation of countless experiences in some of those locations. Some good, some bad, but all part of the mosaic that has been my life here as someone coming from another country. (I grew up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago and came here when I was 20 years old.) Some ask why I don’t take photographs of some other parts of New York, like Staten Island and the Bronx, and it’s not to snub those places, it’s just that I don’t have as much of a connection. The connection has to be there and I hope it’s something you can feel coming through in the images.

6. I have read that Dance as Art started out as a hobby.When did you decide to turn it into a work project?

It turned itself into a work project when I signed the book deal with Insight Editions. Before that it was really just me expressing myself as an artist and occasionally getting calls for paid jobs as a result of my work.

7. Which feature do you prefer the most in a dancers?

Passion. so much so that it comes out in the photographs. Everything else can be learned or simulated, but when you have someone in front of the camera who truly has dedicated their life to their art and loves to show what they do, it really comes out in the photographs.

8. My blog deals with stories,both on a professional and human point of view. You have metà and worked with many artists.Is there a story that moved you more then others or that you consider as an example?

So many to be honest, but in the context of my work, what moved me the most, was an email I received from someone who saw my work. He said that he really wasn’t into what he called “dance stuff” but that he saw one of my photographs on social media and he could not explain what it was but that seeing the image made him feel something. Something he could not quite put his finger on, but he kept on tuning in and he said that after having so many moving experiences with the photographs that he decided that he was going to go take in a dance show to “see what this thing was all about.” I could have cried when I read that message!!!

9. Dance as Art is an awareness of the potentials of art and it is a celebration of artistic,architectural and landscaping heritage of New York City.I definitily share the spirito of your project,because I am firmely convinced about the Vital importance that art and culture have form the growth of cities and people why live in them.I would like you to talk about the objective of your project and about its possible evolution.

The book coming out next fall is the next step as I believe the work itself is a statement about the importance of dance and the arts in general in places like here in New York City. It is very difficult for an artist of any kind to afford to live here in New York and funding for the arts keeps dropping as well. I want people to see dancers in the streets, and have a moment where they reflect on how beautiful the experience was, or how moving the photography might have been and have it encourage them to support the arts by going to a show, or even by doing whatever they can to show their appreciation to artists in general. I would love to do a world tour shooting in various parts of the United States, it’s such a beautiful country, and internationally as well.

10. Have you avere thought of expanding Dance as Art in others countries of the world?For example in Italy?

As I mentioned, I would love to take the show on the road as they say and Italy would definitely be one of the first stops!!!

11. Which is for you the meaning of art? What does this word mean to you?

Art for me is the word people give to something they see coming out of those of us who have an indomitable desire to express ourselves. Be it dance, painting, sculpture, music, photography or many other modes of artistic expression.




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