About photobooks – old and new.
Author: Henry Leutwyler
Title: Ballet – Photographs of the New York City Ballet
Published in 2012 by Steidl (first edition)
4to, hardcover, clothbound with tipped-in plate; issued without dust-jacket; 488 pages, 270 photographs
In the epilogue, Henry Leutwyler says: “In the winter of 2012, I was granted unprecedented access to the New York City Ballet by Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins. With the very same Leica that I used during my seminal years photographing the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, I ventured backstage and through the rehearsal studios, capturing moments ranging from the impossibly sublime to the beautifully mundane.
Most often, I was transfixed by the dancers in their solitary, unguarded moments. Hands meticulously breaking in pointe shoes, a dancer resting on the floor, the brief moment of stillness before the curtain rose —for me, these were the pictures that spoke eloquently of the beauty that I saw within the dancers of the Company.
The photographs in this book are an ode to the brilliant men and women of the New York City Ballet. For inviting us to places we’ve forgotten and for effortlessly transporting us outside of our everyday selves. More than just dance, ballet is an expression of human emotion in all its forms—love, despair, passion, hope and most importantly, joy.”
As described by Peter Martins in the introduction, this has been the result of a four year collaboration, well beyond the content of this book. The content selected here was a specific window during this collaboration, when Henry Leutwyler spent 30 days photographing the behind the scenes, document the ballet’s processes in an intimate way.
These intimate photos were juxtposed in this book with great portraits, which in my perspective make a great photobook and a lively document of the NY City Ballet and dancers’ life.