Juan Carlos Paredes: A Dance in Monochrome

Out of the Studio

Storyteller: Juan Carlos Paredes, Ecuador

Ballet dancer leaping in the air.

What compelled you to make this photo book? 

Making this photo book had been on my mind since I started a personal photo project with ballet dancers 4 years ago. I believe that digital photography has opened many doors for new generations of photographers like me, nevertheless I think that we mustn’t forget the origins of photography. Looking and grasping a photo print is an entirely different experience than looking at an image on a screen regardless of the screen size. This is why I pushed myself to make this photo book and I hope to make many more. MILK Books has properly harnessed the digital era and brought back the elegance of print photography with amazing quality printed photo books.

Ballet dancer's hands crossed over her tutu.

What drives you to take photos?

My love for photography has been present since I was 12 years old. My hobby (photography) turned into my profession after university. Even though some commissioned projects for clients are interesting, every photographer should try to experiment with personal projects, be it for your own professional portfolio or just for you. In my case, I love ballet and love urban landscapes. With this project I tried to merge them both: the elegance of ballet and their dancers with the busy city and cityscapes.

Ballet dancer posing outdoors.

What is your favorite image in the book and why?

My favorite image is the one with Marie Claire, a professional ballerina. I photographed her in mid-air with a -Quito, Ecuador- classic old-town street in the historical downtown. I think the image captures the elegance and beauty of this classic dance and a lovely view of the "San Marcos” neighborhood. It took us about 30 minutes to capture this one shot of the jump, it took a lot of effort from her to nail the pose and from me to technically manage the focus with that particular shallow depth of field.

Ballet dancer stretching.

What is your favorite story behind a single shot in the book? 

One of the shots I love is the one with Karen, another professional ballerina who posed for me. This shot was made in the middle of an old airstrip in the afternoon. Its so interesting to know that just a few years before, huge airliners used to touchdown right where we were doing the photo shoot.


Follow Juan Carlos on Instagram @jcparedesc or check out his website here.


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