The first year I was in business for myself Mr. Joseph Giacobbe entered my office asking me if I am ever photographed dancers before. I asked him what kind of dance and he mentioned live the ballet in a big beautiful theater. I said no but I would love to learn so we started to work together and it's been 20 years since our first meeting. Over the years Joseph and I have become good friends and I have taken on a profound love for the ballet. The Giacobbe family has such a long history here in New Orleans it is made me very proud and honored to be the Delta festival ballets company photographer for all of these years. The technical aspect of photographing a live ballet in a dark theater with colored lights makes capturing such a beautiful event difficult at times. I grew very fond of photographing ballerinas because their talent range is so impressive and it's so important to get the proper positions captured on film which is not easy to say the least when they are so quick at their dance.
Joseph is known for being the best ballet teacher in all of New Orleans. His strict demeanor yet loving and passionate organization helps kids with the love for dance Find professional opportunities in the future if they are dedicated enough. The amount of hours and dedication it takes to be an excellent ballerina gives me the passion to better my own talents every time I leave the theater.
In the beginning when I was learning how to photograph live ballet I was nervous and second-guessed just about every shot I took. Now when I walk into a theater and because of the opportunity Joseph gave me when I was only 23 years old to capture his ballerinas, I feel like I am watching the dance through my lens and paying attention to every step as if I am dancing with them, only my finger is on the shutter waiting for that magic moment. As a photographer you're watching the scene unfold and you're paying attention to the light changing colors which also affects your exposure and if you're not careful your exposure can be incorrect and not give you sharp images. This is one of those things I just had to learn the hard way while shooting with film. You can only imagine my disbelief and my sense of awe when images were not perfect when I viewed them a week later after collecting my film from the lab. Digital cameras opened the doors to seeing your images quicker and being able to make adjustments faster and on the spot. To this day I still get a little nervous before every event, but the confidence I have with being able to read the stage, the lighting, and the speed of which I need to be capturing the images makes such an impact on how my photography is created today.
Like all fantastic relationships whether personal or business, Joseph and his wife Gwendel were not only a beautiful couple but a beautiful team. When Glendel passed away recently I know Joseph's world came to an abrupt halt but his commitment to his art and students are present with every performance.
These dancers make it look easy but dear Lord it is not! It takes talent on both ends of the camera to create images like you see here. I have been fortunate to see kids at age 13 progress to professional companies around the country and what an honor it is been to photograph these kids.
"Photography is my life!"
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