dance photographer Essex Jo Tennant

An insight in to me.

I am Jo, mother to a beautiful son who is the same age now as I was when my dreams of being a dancer were broken ~ quite literally!

As a child ballet was my passion. From the age of 4 my ballet shoes, my beautiful white satin tutu that my Mam made and my pink regulation hair band were my pride and joy. I was helping to teach the baby class at the age of 7, had my first stage solo at 8, performed in morning assembly once a month at the age of 9, was about to go on pointe at the age of 10, then broke my arm very badly, which left it able to do amazing contortions, but not straighten properly ~ and you can’t have a ballerina with a bent arm.

I stopped dancing, did gymnastics, trampolining, sports acrobatics instead ~ but was never particularly good at any of them. Ballet had been my thing ~ I’d just really been too young to understand that. As I got older and bought my home I started to buy art and without even realising what I was doing it was always dancers. I have a sculpture by the Catalan artist Josep Bofill, a bronze, called Carmen. It is raw, powerful, beautiful ~ and it sits in the window where I regularly see it as simply a rim lit silhouette. This was my inspiration.

I have worked through an era in photography dominated by Photoshop, actions, textures, sometimes done beautifully, but more often it seems done simply because they can be. I wanted to create a body of work that could have as easily been produced in the darkroom that I studied in, as at my desk. I wanted the skills that I used to be traditional photographic ones, lighting, composition, timing. I had to learn dance again. In working with a variety of dancers specifically over the last 6 months I have learnt to identify the height of the movement, the extent of the stretch, I have learnt to anticipate the top of the jump, to shoot the fraction of the second before it that I need to, to capture it perfectly.  I have also finally gone on pointe!

The resulting work led me to gain my Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) in Fine Art Portraiture and I am hugely looking forward to continuing to develop a body of work that is not just a pleasure for me to shoot, but for you to view. I am also available for commissions, please just call me on 01702 542842 to discuss your requirements.

My wedding and portrait work can be seen through Studio Rochford and my newborn portraits at Baby Jojo

Jo Tennant FBIPP