Their black and white palette is rich in numerous shades and under-tints…
Neither candid, nor still photography can manage to reflect the heart and soul of the most ephemeral of all performing arts. Of course photographers can capture the general stylistic of a ballet, the stage design, and the costumes. But hardly ever – its idiosyncrasy, the ins and the outs of its plastique, its poetics, and its unique intonation.
To be able to do that a cameraman should feel the nature of dance as a beast senses spring in the air. He must be of one blood with it. Leonid Zhdanov is a rare exception. The images in which he grasped moments from legendary ballets and from the mysteries of rehearsals are priceless indeed. These photos show the glory of Russia that does not depend either on political developments, or market fluctuations.
A former Bolshoi leading dancer, Zhdanov teaches at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and is keen on photography. He has published 18 photo albums, and his personal photo archive numbers 400 thousand negatives. He has compiled a truly fabulous collection…
Zhdanov’s archive is perhaps one of the largest private photo archives in the world, featuring classical ballet.
The famous choreographer’s statement “Only an associatively thinking person can be a real artist”, will be made flesh at the exhibit. The line of photos taken back in the late 60s by Kasyan Goleizovski’s friend and associate Leonid Zhdanov – is an exquisite and beautiful story told by one Master about another.
I’ve been to the exhibition, I’ve seen it, and it was sheer pleasure! Such extraordinary style, it’s conceptual in the best sense of this word. It’s amazing how the photographer can grasp the truth and the essence, and to bring it to the fore.
It seems, static photography and illusive ballet, based on impetuous and agile plastique are incompatible. However, there is nothing impossible when a true expert like Leonid Zhdanov who knows ballet inside out, picks up a camera.
The exhibition was initiated and organized by the “Reborn Art” non-commercial organization, whose main purpose is to preserve and promote outstanding samples of national culture with the help of modern technologies. This digital exhibit is the first in the series of exhibitions and publishing projects of the Foundation.