In the world of photography, capturing the essence of a renowned dancer is a unique and thrilling challenge.
Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph for Norden’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat the extraordinary Mette Linturi, who is the main character in The Jungle’s latest hit single “Back on 74”, which has spawned a worldwide dance trend. Mette has also appeared in music videos for FKA Twig and Kylie Minogue.
Little did I know that the unpredictable weather and fading sunlight would play a pivotal role in shaping the outcome of our shoot.
The day started with a mix of excitement and nerves as I prepared my gear for the shoot with Mette Linturi. The outdoor location of Woolwich had already been decided as it suited her schedule and availability. The weather forecast looked increasingly worse the days leading up to the shoot, with heavy or light rain being prevalent for our entire shoot duration.
As I set up my equipment, the weather remained uncertain, with looming clouds threatening to dampen the spirit of the shoot. As Mette began her warm-up, the weather put on its own performance: the sun played hide-and-seek with the rain clouds, which thankfully hid throughout.
I wanted the fluidity of Mette’s dancing movements to clash with her surroundings – buildings with a coldness and urban feeling about them – to set the backdrop and stage for her humanity, energy and warmth to shine in the photos.
The Photoshoot with Dancer Mette Linturi
As she put on “Back on 74” and started moving as in the music video, the metal and glass backdrop with horizontal lines and lack of colour drew the eye towards her, with the green bushes framing close-up photos.
Our second location was the nearby statue Assembly by Peter Burke. Consisting of 16 cast figures, it felt like a great way to emphasise Mette’s movement and way of standing out as the main character when being surrounded by fellow dancers or onlookers.
The sunlight was falling rapidly into dusk, and it was the perfect opportunity to take photos lit by flash, which felt a bit more close-up and personal. I wanted the photos to mirror her strength as a dancer and the empowering feminine attitude she emanates. Having spent some time with her and built rapport, it felt like I had a stronger feel of her personality, which I wanted to capture.
The brick backdrop was the unsung hero of our photoshoot, the gritty yet surprisingly charming sidekick elevating the feminine personality to a whole new level. It’s like the backdrop is whispering secrets of strength and character, its rough texture a metaphorical nod to resilience. But those warm, earthy tones play a behind-the-scenes role, adding an unexpected touch of finesse. It’s the kind of backdrop that doesn’t just frame the shot; it becomes a silent partner, showcasing the intricate dance of strength and grace that defines feminine energy. So, it turns out, this brick backdrop isn’t just good; it’s a scene-stealer, giving our photos a talkative, textured tale of feminine power and poise.
The last location of our shoot was a black metallic staircase, surrounded by a brick building with a window lit in warm yellow light. The trusted flash (B10 Pro Photo and OCF beauty dish) picks up Mette from the background and gives a smooth light casted onto her. The cold colour of the dusky sky compliments her blue jeans whilst simultaneously clashing with the warm light of Mette and the window to the right hand side.
Mette Linturi Dancer, Model & Artist
Photographing Mette Linturi wasn’t just about capturing her prowess, but also her movement and a glimpse of her personality. Capturing the essence of a renowned dancer with focus around movement was a thrilling challenge, and I was pleased with the outcome.