This past week, Cartier reopened its historic mansion at 653 Fifth Avenue after a two and a half years of construction, bringing back to life this iconic piece of real estate the brand took hold of nearly 100 years ago. In 1917 in a deal over a double strand of natural pearls, Pierre Cartier exchanged his necklace for a Fifth Avenue mansion from the Plant family. At the time, the necklace was more valuable than the private home, and a great deal more desirable to Maisie Plant who coveted it.
To celebrate this four year long renovation project and the unveiling of this six story, 40,000 square foot retail mansion with 4 floors of shopping, a 5th floor workshop and 6th floor exhibition/event space, Cartier hosted a star studded “house warming” party where Hollywood rubbed elbows with musical performers who charmed powerful directors. But in the evening before the champagne and sparkling diamonds floated across Cartier’s red carpet, there was a late night dress rehearsal with the New York City Ballet.
It was this moment I chose to photograph. The intimacy of their art in the quiet empty rooms of this historic mansion the ballerinas glided around in graceful steps to a custom soundtrack by Nicolas Godin filling the rooms on dueling pianos and passionate embraces reflected in infinity mirrors and played back in the sparkles of chandeliers….
The Cartier Mansion opens to the public next week!… and let me say this: the second floor Princess Grace Salon currently displaying Grace Kelly’s magnificent engagement ring is what little girl’s dreams are made of (and even some grown ones as well.)
Continue reading “NYC Ballet x Cartier”
Last week was a really exciting one for us both creatively and culturally. The past month we have been working feverishly on a series of cinemagraphs we made with the School of American Ballet we shot back in February. It’s always been a dream of mine to shoot ballerinas as I so admire their lines, pose, discipline and beauty of dance. As you saw, the cinemagraphs were displayed in the David H. Koch theater of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House. These cinemagraph portraits showed the art of ballet caught at it’s best eternally. The perfect pose, spin, point, there to study and be inspired by its beauty. In addition to the cinemagraphs, on this day we also shot the staged dance sequences for the video.
Just to give you some behind the scenes at SAB’s shoot, we kept the setup pretty simple. The inspiration was based on Eadweard Muybridge’s studies in motion from the history of photography. We wanted to study the ballerina, the form, the movement and motion. We decided to put them on two 12×12 Solid black backdrops and asked the dancers to wear all white. With two large Arri M18 HMI lights we pointed up bouncing the light off the white ceiling illuminating the dancers from above going for an effect of a large skylight for a classic and natural feeling. After tapping down a black rubber floor, the stage was set.
We shot six of SAB’s students in one of their dance studios at Lincoln Center. One of the great things about SAB is how they use live piano players, which we had for our shoot, and hire the most passionate teachers. On this day we worked closely with Suki Schorer who directed the dancers throughout the shoot and tweaked their hands or feet positions with every shot.
It was such a joy to create around a thing of incredible beauty like in ballet. After every dance sequence I would applaud and smile from sheer joy… until Suki told me to stop clapping because that tells the piano player to stop playing and nobody wants that.
Here is a peek behind the scenes shot by our assistant Diana Ola~
Continue reading “Behind the Scenes at SAB”
For the School of American Ballet’s winter ball, Kevin and I followed three of the students into their experience, thoughts and dreams as they bring to life the dedication and hard work that makes the movement of ballerinas look so elegant and effortless….