I didn’t have a plan when I walked into Alicia’s studio that morning and it felt good to be free of worry for a specific outcome. Alicia was already there and warming up when we arrived so I pulled out the camera and began my warm up too. Examining the lighting, changing my settings, testing shots and angles. The first thing that struck me about the studio was how reflective it was. Not just the mirrors on the wall that, even with the overhead lights out, made the room glow from the windows above them, but the floor and the ceiling, too.
I found myself getting entranced by the replication as I walked around the room. After Alicia’s initial warmup, we had a quick discussion about what she was working on: new choreography for her group that involved mirroring and shadowing. Reflection and duplication. I realized as she was talking that it was exactly what I had been photographing unconsciously during our warmup. Light and shadow, reflection and image. I wrestled with these ideas as I continued to photograph her practice.
Alicia was so kind as to send me some of her thoughts from the notes she made before the session and I can’t say it more eloquently, so I’ll let her words do the talking: “I was thinking about double exposure — how two things can coexist and be both the same and not the same. Two moments somehow extracted from the same moment in time. Or like two people, linked through DNA or simply love, inhabiting the same moment but retaining their singleness. Thinking too about how in early photography double exposure was sometimes used to suggest or “prove” ghostly presences — how what we can’t see could hold the same space as what we can see. What’s behind us or with us, somehow driving us (ancestors, energies). Or, about how several versions of “me” can exist at the same time, in a single frame.”
At one point while Alicia was dancing, my daughter felt inspired to follow along. She had no idea what we had discussed about coexistence and energies, she just wanted to dance. And it made my heart so full.
I especially love this last image. The line of the mirrors intersection perfectly dividing her. The shape of her lips, the delicate posture of her hand. The unguarded vulnerability in her eyes. How the artwork on the wall behind her suggests fragile wings… It makes me stop and wonder what she was seeing in her reflected self at that moment.
Keep dancing, my friends. –Angie