In an exclusive collaboration, the New York City Ballet and internationally acclaimed aerial photographer Brad Walls have orchestrated a visually stunning photographic series, offering viewers a bird’s-eye perspective of an enchanting ballet performance.
Swan Lake Reimagined Technical Information
- Location: Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA
- Project Year: 2022
- Photographs: © Brad Walls
- Instagram: @
While theater ballet performances are undoubtedly breathtaking, there exists a captivating harmony between the natural wonders of our world and the art of Ballet—it’s a seamless fusion.
– Brad Walls
Swan Lake Reimagined Photographs
An Aerial Exploration of Dance and Emotion on the Salt Flats
The photoshoot took place on the evocative and ethereal landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah in September 2022. This aerial photoshoot starred Sasonah Huttenbach, a gifted artist from the New York City Ballet’s Corp de Ballet.
Intrigued by the narrative complexity of Swan Lake, Walls sought to investigate the spectrum of human emotions through his innovative approach. The choice of location, a desolate salt lake, served as a canvas to illustrate a play of shadows and to subtly allude to the ballet in focus. In Wall’s own words, “Your shadow could provide solace or mirror a gloomy mood, all depending on your emotional state”. This clever twist of representing Swan Lake on a salt lake adds a layer of interpretative depth to the project.
Walls’ project served a dual purpose – challenging and reimagining traditional ballet photography by transposing the artistic act from the enclosed space of the theater into the vastness of the natural world. He stated, “While ballet performances in a theater are undeniably breathtaking, there is an intriguing synergy between the natural beauty of our planet and the art of ballet—it’s a harmonious fusion that we must explore.”
Sasonah Huttenbach, who grew up alternating between Tokyo and New York City, shared her connection with the concept behind the photoshoot. She stated, “The depiction of white and black swans on the salt mirrored the personal conflicts I have wrestled with during my journey as a ballet dancer transitioning between Japan and the US.” She further elaborated, “Ballet has provided me with structure and a cherished form of self-expression, but the strict discipline also contests my worldly curiosity.”
Walls’ artistic choice of using a single dancer to depict both the Black and White swan was an intentional decision. He believed that using different dancers could dilute the intense symmetric struggle he wanted to convey through his lens.
In 2024, Walls plans to include this ground-breaking series in a coffee table book alongside other global photoshoots with esteemed dance troupes such as the New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, and the English National Ballet. This publication is set to offer a breathtaking journey through the delicate yet dynamic world of ballet seen from a refreshing perspective.
Swan Lake Reimagined Image Gallery
About Brad Walls
Brad Walls is an award-winning aerial photographer who rose to prominence in the photography world in 2019. He is particularly known for his innovative approach to capturing aerial portraits of athletes, including synchronized swimmers, gymnasts, and ice skaters. His work offers a unique perspective on these sports, providing viewers with angles and viewpoints not commonly seen.
Walls’ exceptional talent has been recognized in the industry, evidenced by his selection as a featured artist for the Inaugural 2020 Aerial Photography Awards. His work has also been shortlisted in the Sport and People categories for the Drone Photo Awards in Siena, Italy, further cementing his reputation as a leading figure in aerial photography.