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Capturing Limitless Authenticity with Rachel Neville

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Photography encapsulates a moment in time like no other art form, and every artist walks into the studio wanting to capture their best selves. Some walk away ecstatic, while others leave unsatisfied or even injured. Dancers and photographers alike may feel pressure for photos that continue to push the body - and safety - to its limits, to capture the next “WOW!” shot.

How do you get pictures that reflect your fullest, most amazing self, without pushing your body too far? How do you find a photographer who understands dancers and will make you feel safe?

Bendy Bodies asked renowned dance photographer Rachel Neville these very questions.

Rachel’s passion for dancers is evident as she discusses the ways she helps dancers get the perfect arabesque or action shot. But she also understands the tension a photographer wrestles with, of wanting to push boundaries in art while at the same time protecting the dancer and creating a safe space. What is the photographer’s responsibility in making sure a dancer stays physically and emotionally safe?

Rachel offers practical tips on developing a session organically, finding your “best self” and working into it. She reveals why she treats a shoot like a ballet class, shares the reason photography shoots take patience and practice from both the photographer and the dancer, and explains why the foundational elements of how the shoot is built are just as important as using the right muscles in a movement.

Rachel discusses how she makes dancers feel confident and safe in a shoot, and find their emotional expression through their movements. She emphasizes the importance of letting dancers know that the photographer “has your back”, and opens up about what she wishes all dancers could know before a photo shoot, offering questions to ask photographers beforehand.

And for all artists, Rachel asks the question:

How do we find our authentic self, and truly show what we have to offer?

If you’re a photographer, artist, or simply a fan, you’ll love the wisdom in this episode.

Episode transcript:

Episode 29 - Capturing Limitless Authenticity with Rachel Neville
Download PDF • 179KB


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