Dance is one of the most adaptable art forms, in that you can do it anywhere—if you're creative enough. That's what struck me when I took the streets of Santa Monica with Brightyn Brems. The shots really did make themselves as she expressed herself naturally and fluently.
At only 13 years old, Brems has made quite a name for herself as a professional dancer. Besides appearing in Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and NBC's World of Dance, she made the all-American gymnastics team when she was only eight. She evidenced her professionalism by adapting to the ever-changing environment. She remained uninhibited by the public setting, allowing me to compose my shots strategically and effectively.
Street photography doesn't guaranty color coordination, so the way she gelled with the backdrop was nothing short of miraculous. Sometimes, passing cars would match the red/orange stripe on her shirt. Other times, the building itself would bring out her color scheme. I could allow her to do what she personally likes best, and I hopped on for the ride.
Even with someone in tune with her own aesthetic, I knew that my lighting and background choices could still make or break my shots. It wasn't just about capturing her perfect moments but getting those moments to really pop. The afternoon lighting proved effective in this way. It wasn't too intense for direct sunlight, but brilliant enough to make Brems glow.
All street shoots revolve around using what others might overlook. Bike lanes remain a part of everyday life, but the built-in symmetry is dying to be capitalized on. Just like Brems can pull off a sick move in the middle of a crosswalk, I have to see everything I look at as an opportunity. This not only diversifies my material but reflects the dancers' free spirit.
It might seem odd to have someone strike a dance pose in the middle of the street, but that's what street photography is all about. Any story can become great if told in the right way, and these shots tell a story of spontaneous joy and inexorable elegance. It was truly an honor to be a part of Brightyn Brems' story—a small chapter in a budding talent's journey.