Monica Torres, Dancer
This shoot had three objectives: 1) show the dancer in flamenco ambience, 2) show the dancer's personality in her facial expressions without appearing to be simply providing "headshots" and 3) show the dancer's sensual gifts by suggesting an escape from routine lives. The dancer in this case, Monica Torres, accompanied by monster flamenco guitarist Miguelito, brought spirit, energy and desire to the studio, and these had to be mixed into a chemistry that could only suggest Monica. This distinction of personality -- making somebody appear like nobody else -- is one of my fondest exercises with a camera. That's the whole point, isn't it? Originality, whether in creativity or captivity, right?
Had the pleasure of shooting dancer Monica Torres with Mike Perez (guitarist "Miguelito") a week ago, and sought to create the ambiance of an intimate but not grandiose wine cellar in Andalucia. I spent my formative years growing up in the worst part of Spain, the Costa del Sol. But trips into the interior of the South, where flamenco leapt into life, remarkably similar to its present standard, had a very strong attraction to me. Flamenco has always been a composition of intimacies in my mind: dancers and a guitarist at a campfire invite you into a fantasy where you can shout and clap and feel as if the performance is yours. The performers must be good, of course, but the art doesn't depend on the techniques or the talents as much as it does in a sense of place. Not that you are in Andalucia, but that you have journeyed far from yourself into the mood of the rhythm makers and their dance master. This might be a long task for Bethesda, but we tried and the results are shown here, as art pieces and glimpses from the front row.