Banning, Suzanne

Suzanne Banning, Houston Texas, USA

Belly Dancer 1

Suzanne Banning: Belly Dancer 1, lightjet print, 2004, 38x51cm, edition 8

The power of motion in photography intrigues me. I began to experiment with it during my studies at the Academy of Art in Arnhem, The Netherlands. After moving to the USA I discovered digital photography and have been playing with its endless possibilities ever since. Although the images are digital, the distortions and deformations are achieved only through motion, and not with Photoshop.

Dance has always been an important integral part of my work: I dance and sing with my camera in my hand while shooting my pictures. In fact, my work consists mostly of self-portraits and I rarely use models. As an exception to this rule I had my dear friend Vanessa model for the belly dancing pictures. Her beautiful body moved gracefully to the Middle Eastern music while I was clicking away, catching these fleeting moments. The vague forms, distilled from gestures made long ago, blend together like layers of colored fog. To have a model dance for me was very interesting, since it created an additional element of interaction: instead of just music and me seducing the camera there was she, my model, acting as seductress.

The technique I’m using to take pictures often gives me the feeling that I am painting with the colored light that falls into the lens of my camera. I shoot pictures more or less randomly yet controlled, reacting to what I see appearing in the display. If the result is too blurry I will move slower; if it is too focused I move faster instead. It is thrilling to see how this method deforms reality. The images seem to open up a world of unknown ethereal forms, and it's almost as if the recording eye of the camera peels off and visualizes the layers in which we exist.
Suzanne Banning February 2007

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