By Kien Lee
Photojournalist Shawn Danker based in Singapore, known more for his photo documentation and in particular of tsunami-struck Japan in recent times, has embarked on and now reveals a project that captures the beauty of dance, set against the most unexpected of backdrops.
With a goal towards celebrating the human art form, Danker has taken his subjects out of the studio and off the performance stage, and onto urban settings in cities ranging from Singapore, Kyoto, Tokyo to Melbourne.
"This series is a way for me to try to use everything I've learned about photography to blend genres and create a new gestalt that no one else has ever done."
On how he has chosen where to shoot, the photographer reveals that in Singapore, "I scout and scout locations. Once I find somewhere with potential I go back to the place multiple times to see how the light interacts with the scene at different times of the day."
Whereas for overseas locations, the approach is more novel.
He turns to social media.
"Overseas locations wise I scour Instagram and Facebook for research. Each and every location you see in each photo are carefully researched before being chosen."
A subway station, playground, back alley, public park, temple, overpass, stairwell, by the side of the road, are just some of where these captivating visuals were captured.
On his underlying narrative, Danker explains, "Other dance photographers' work tend to solely focus on the dancers themselves even when they're shooting on location.
"I break that trend by telling my dancers that they aren't dancing in a vacuum."
"They're there to interact with the background so when the viewers look at the photograph, they will understand that the dancers are at the locations for a reason."
The project is ongoing and Danker reveals plans are underway for a formal exhibition as well as a book in the future. But not before he completes his anthology by extending the series to more cities like London, Paris Berlin, Los Angeles and New York City.
We can't wait.
For more of Shawn Danker's work, go to www.shawndanker.com