Spring is definitely in the air for this happy couple. Their costumes may seem unusual, but their eternal, happy pursuit is universally recognizable. This image, by Portland, Ore., photographer Andy Batt, was made for the Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) to promote the troupe's fall 2005 performance of the ballet "Angelo,” by choreographer Julia Adam.
The ballet, an interpretation of the famous "All the world's a stage” soliloquy from Shakespeare's "As You Like It,” depicts seven stages of a man's life. In this OBT production, all of the life stages were designed around the same set piece: the trunk of a tree.
To capture the feeling of the drama, Batt chose to shoot the dancers outdoors, using a real tree at Council Crest Park, just west of Portland.
"The dancers were definitely in motion, but it was a very choreographed moment,” Batt says of this image. "I didn't want to freeze them in one place because I was looking for the right amount of tension you get when a body is moving.”
Finding that tension was no problem, Batt recalls. "It's amazing what these dancers can do,” he says. "I ask them to do this incredible leap, and they can do it exactly, over and over.”
Batt also brought along some Broncolor and Speedotron strobes to brighten the Oregon gloom, plus a small generator to power his portable digital workstation. The image was shot with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II.
A New Jersey native, Batt studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the late 1980s, where he met his future wife and business partner, Therese Gietler. After moving to Portland, the couple opened Andy Batt Studios in 1997. Some of Batt's clients include Adidas, Best Buy and First Tech Credit Union.
Known mostly for his sports-themed advertising photography, Batt says the OBT gig "just fell into my lap.” Now entering his fifth season shooting for the company, he says his latest photos will be presented in the theater's lobby through its Spring 2007 season; his recent work for OBT is also viewable at obt.org.