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Aerialist Photography

I had the pleasure of working with Ellie, a high school senior and aerialist. She brought her ideas, silks, and enthusiasm to the studio recently. One of the must-have features of my studio was high ceilings. We weren’t going to be doing drops from 30′, but you do need some space to have separation from both the ceiling and floor. My Greensboro studio’s ceilings are 12′, and that was perfect.

Ellie created the first true aerialist photography at the studio; a couple of my commercial dance clients have used a lyra to create some fun images. The lyra, or hoop, is a bit more forgiving since it is solid and is sort of a skinny swing, and we used it much that way.

Silks are a whole other world, where proper training is a requisite for safety as well as form. For that reason, I don’t carry my own silks; I want my clients who use them to be vested in the art form.

The various maneuvers that Ellie had to execute to get into a position were interesting in their own right, and she would often just hang in the silk and look at the monitor to inspect what we had just created. Just another day in the aerial gym for her.

Having an assistant was a huge help in getting the images created. The silk’s suspension assembly rotates easily, and having an extra set of hands to keep the aerialist angled correctly for the camera is invaluable. Thanks, Ellie’s mom! This is also true of using the lyra.

Otherwise, the flow of our creative aerialist retreat was much like a dance retreat. We started with an idea, roughed the light in, tweaked the pose, adjusted the light, and then got the shot as we finished tweaking the little details to transform a good photo into a great photo.