Sunday, February 26, 2017

Whirl: Apollo Bird by Studio MG Photography

'It was like my own Cirque show as he climbed, twirled and hung from various parts of the building for my camera.'

Back in 2012, while putting together posts for a Circus themed day, I needed an aerialist. When I was a kid, those daring young men swinging through the air, were always a highlight. I had seen and image of circus artist Apollo Bird on Studio MG Photography's Model Mayhem port, and aI halways wanted to feature him and was thrilled that Mark shared a few images of Apollo for me to include. (With The Greatest Of Ease)

Mark's images of Apollo have always been some of my favorites, and am thrilled to be able to feature more of the shoot. In fact, there are a couple of new shots, Mark just recently edited while going through shots for this piece. The incredible lines Apollo creates, with his body, and with the ropes, silks and chairs he utilizes pull together so many of the optical motif's Mark so beautifully weaves into his work.

Circus, and Mark's own unique rendering of his cirque érotique concept is a theme he has been exploring within his work for years. Some images, such as shooting models completing acrobatic moves, juggling or hanging from ropes and chains are shot with a clear eye on the theme. But elements of circus are weaved through so much of Mark's work. Elements of risk, with models scaling walls and bars, models in pens, and enclosures and maybe especially the locations Mark chooses use.

Mark often shoots outside, and when in, there is rarely an room which is totally enclosed, without a broken window or open doorway for easy escape. The buildings and warehouses Mark often utilizes invite not just movement, but big movements, fast movements which can whirl, spin and speed through expansive spaces with high beams and roofs, or no roof's at all. Dancers need space, especially when their dance, occurs closer to the ceiling than the ground.

These open spaces create a beautiful lack of limits, for both the model interacting with them, as well as the boundless feel of Mark's images. The space used for this shoot, was actually a loft space, one fitting the needs of both Apollo Bird, the man in the air, and his girlfriend, with whom he shared the space with.

Mark describes the space as a large warehouse, one that had been cut up into smaller pieces, most likely to attract both artists, and artistic types who fight boundaries, or in any way feeling enclosed. Mark remembers that at the time, Apollo and his girlfriend were half, or maybe a third of a performing group, part circus, part magic show, with a bit of music weaved within.

'I never saw one of their official performances but our shoot felt like a wonderful solo afternoon show. Light was streaming in from skylights and Apollo had hardware rigged in several places so he could do the most amazing things.'

'In addition to three types of aerial work he did some balancing work and even juggling. None seemed like a big deal to him - it was everyday life, although maybe a bit skimpier on the costuming that usual... It was another of those shoots, like working with dancers, where I have no idea what they can do so I just let them play at their art, while I create mine!'

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