A professional ballet dancer since 1998, Laurent Liotardo has performed all over the world with major companies including Paris Opera Ballet, Marseille National Ballet and, since 2003, with English National Ballet. Being surrounded by such beautiful artists at ENB soon led him to discover and develop a real passion for photography.
Here Laurent shares some of his favourite snaps from ENB during last season and tells us a bit about his passion for photography:
Inspiration & Gear:
I have always liked photography. In 2007, for ENB’s Tour to Versailles, I bought my first DSLR. I was more passionate about landscapes at the time, but from then I started taking a few photos of Swan Lake and got quite excited about it. Being friends makes it easier to work with the dancers: I feel really lucky to have around me so many talented dancers/models to work with. That has been a real inspiration for me. Plus, being able to draw from 20 years of experience and knowledge in ballet has enhanced my vision as a dance photographer.
I am pro-Nikon and always will be. I really like Nikon’s design and the overall feel of their cameras. I am currently working with a D700 & a D800, with the whole Nikon full-frame lenses. They are great for autofocus and low light. When it comes to the studio work, the new D800 is a real beast!
If I could go back in time, I would have loved to photograph Nureyev and Baryshnikov. As for today, there are so many gorgeous dancers out there, it would be hard to pick one, but I would love to work with Maria Kochetkova, Friedemann Vogel, Polina Semionova and Alina Cojocaru.
For audiences there is a lot of exciting stuff. And more than anything, it’s great to have new additions to the ENB repertory and works that will be especially created for us.
Le Corsaire should be great. I had the chance to meet its designer Bob Ringwood when I made a video for it. The differents sets & costumes look really magical. It’s an exciting ballet which I am sure will translate into the photos. The other work I am looking forward to photographing would be Lest We Forget, for the new pieces from Liam Scarlett, Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant. I like that Liam’s works have a real dark and rich atmosphere.
Tips of the Trade:
Try to get a cheap DSLR and just have fun and be creative. You will learn by making mistakes. You can always learn the basics of photography in books but, at the end of the day, you still need to go and find your own style.
All photos by © Laurent Liotardo. Click to launch slideshow
About the Author:
Laurent trained as a ballet dancer and has worked professionally in France and in the UK. He has been with English National Ballet since 2003. He has always had a passion for photography and decided a couple of years ago to throw himself into it more seriously. Laurent is based in London and works with ballet images, as well as portraits and wedding photography.