UK Interview 2020
World Ballet Day
Award-winning aerial photographer Brad Walls, aka Bradscanvas, has released a brand new body of work titled “ballerine de l'air” (Ballerina from the air) in time for World Ballet Day, inviting audiences to experience yet another fresh and intimate perspective, this time into the captivating beauty of Ballet.
All images © Brad Walls
Hi Brad thank you for talking to TNC, how are you held up during these very strange times?
As I write this I am currently in a cabin in the hinterland about 3 hours west of Sydney. It’s been nice to get out of the city for a few days and immerse yourself in nature, especially in the current climate.
Has this time offered you new creative inspirations?
Definitely, there is something unique in the creative process about having constraints, and whilst frustrating they allow you to really focus on what you would like to get done. For example this collection was created during the pandemic due to the extra time I had to explore new ideas as well as Montanna spending time away from the Ballet.
How did you get into aerial photography?
I first picked up a semi-professional drone 2 years ago to document my travels around south east Asia. 18 months on I have refined my aesthetic constantly experimenting with various subject matter.
What are the biggest challenges/differences an aerial photographer may face?
The obvious ones are the natural elements, however my biggest challenge was to really create a new aesthetic within the ‘newer’ discipline of photography. Majority of Aerial photography was landscape, hence I wanted to challenge that notion, thus getting cut-through has been quite difficult. Hopefully series like this exposes the more artistic uses of drones.
Today is World Ballet Day and you've released your latest work "ballerine de l'air", do nerves ever set in when you're releasing new work?
Yes and no. As a creator, I feel I am best motivated when releasing my work to the world, it makes me accountable to achieve my goals. On the flipside, there are some doubts whether it will be well received, however I generally try to block out those thoughts.
"...I hope my take on it has shown the beautiful lines, shapes and shadows that an aerial view can take."
Where did your interest in ballet come from?
My interest to shoot Ballet came from “teacup ballet” by Olive cotton.
What was it about Olive Cotton, “Teacup ballet” that inspired you so much?
The use of shadows in “teacup ballet” by Olive Cotton inspired a broader aesthetic that you can see throughout my work with my strong use of shadows.
How did "ballerine de l'air" come about?
I contacted Montanna back in May of this year and asked if she was available and willing to help me fulfil my goal of ballerine de l’air and she was more than happy to be involved. From there it was just down to location scouting and mood board mapping.
What was the experience like working with Montana Rubin and how did you go about getting her to be part of this project?
Working with Montanna was fantastic, we had immense mutual respect for one an others art form creating a perfect foundation to blend our two skill sets. By the end of the shoot we were both feeling more comfortable with one another to be able to start experimenting further.
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have taken from this experience?
To never overthink the little things in a shoot. It’s important for the interaction of the photographer and model to flow naturally, nothing should be forced. There was a moment whereby I asked Montanna to play with the shadow created by her movements via the light, this moment capuWatching an artist (Rubin) truly lose herself in her art form was truly a spine-tingling moment and a moment that a photographer can end up waiting many years to experience
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about taking up Aerial photography?
Start slow, try and get a feel for the basics of aerial composition, then start to refine your aesthetic. It is such a new artform that there is so much room for new and upcoming artists.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from "ballerine de l'air"?
Two things. Firstly and most notably, the alternate perspective of Ballet. We are very used to the standard front on photography of Ballet, but I hope my take on it has shown the beautiful lines, shapes and shadows that an aerial view can take.
Secondly, and most importantly is to challenge the notion of aerial photography being so tightly coupled with landscape. I really want viewers to explore the diversity of how drones can enable artists like myself to create new and experimental art.