2015 Documentary Photographer of the Year

Wow. Where do I start? Last year a good friend of mine, the amazing Cheryl Bradley of Cheryl Bradley Dance Studios, rang me up all excitedly and said, 'Simone, I have a car FULL of white tutus for the Christmas concert. You absolutely have to photograph the girls in them!'. I didn't need asking twice. Cheryl and I have this incredibly creative spark that goes between us and we're constantly dreaming up new projects, but this one really got my heart racing. Little ballerinas in tutus...whatever that looks like, I'm in! 

So, in the end I photographed the 2014 Christmas concert's technical rehearsal. All quietly from back stage...recording the excitement that goes on in the wings. It was my first time seeing it all from this perspective and it was a treasure trove of beauty and inspiration. Getting to see Cheryl and her team work to create a concert was amazing. I just love watching an expert doing their thing!

When we went through these photographs we knew we had something special. The idea was born to prepare them for exhibition during the 2015 SALA Festival and show this ballet world for the art form it is. That exhibition starts next week at Tutu & Twirl on Goodwood Road and opening night is Friday August 7 from 6-9pm. I'm beyond excited and I hope as many people as possible will come through to have a look. We're looking forward to showing the prints off and making a fuss of the little stars in the photos. They're absolutely divine. 

Which leads to me to what happened last night. The South Australian Epson Australian Institute of Professional Photography Awards were held over the weekend and I entered some of the photos from the exhibition into the Documentary category. All I hoped for was that at least one print would be awarded so that I could say that the exhibition was 'award-winning'. Well...not only did I get all four prints awarded, but I won the whole category. Thud. My little ballerinas stood out enough to be judged the best portfolio amongst the finalists and now we REALLY get to say that they're award-winning! This win has so much meaning for me as my work has headed into a more documentary direction as time has gone by and it's so gratifying to be rewarded for it. I'm absolutely stoked. 

So...enough waffle...these are the winning images and a sneak peek of my Tiny Dancer exhibition! I've kept these under wraps deliberately so that those attending the exhibition would get the full impact, but I'm thrilled to open the door slightly so you can see the loveliness of behind the scenes of a successful ballet studio. 

xo Simone