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Undisclosed – images of the comtemporary circus artist

In todays lecture we had our guest speaker Bertil Nilsson who is ‘a  London-based photographer and filmmaker known for his work with circus performers and dancers.’ – taken from his website (http://www.bertil.co.uk)

During Nilsson’s talk I enjoyed seeing his images of his subjects from the circus. The way he captured the body of his subjects with all their muscles is really fascinating to look at as its really detailed. He also talked about how its not important to see/know if its a male or felame subject which I then found myself really paying attention to try and figure out if it was male or female, which I found quite interesting.

Bertil Nilsson4Bertil Nilsson1 Bertil Nilsson2 Bertil Nilsson3

Lecture Notes

Collaboration is important to him its about getting under the skin and trying to get something more out of the process of working with someone.

The whole ideas of his subjects being naked the apparatus around and the space makes the atmosphere different if it was a performance he wanted to create a intimate atmosphere between him and them. Gave a different relationship when the subject is naked, more vulnerable for them to expose themselves in front of the camera. Different relationship than if they were in their performance with all their clothes on, difference connection 
 
Risk of actually doing this, risk of falling, bruises etc. They try to hide all that during their performances comfortably he wanted to capture that ‘immense impact on the body to do this’ a lot of pain and friction on ropes etc he wanted to capture this in his images. 
 
Represent ideas of what happened with the body when you put it under all the strain that circus and dance represents, another important aspect of his project.
 
Worked with around 60 people all over the world for 5 years . he feels like he became part of the community. feeling of everyone knowing each other in the circus community he feels like he became a part of it because people knew what he was doing through this community although he was travelling around the world with this project.
 
Interested in how you can represent movement in photography, you have one image how can you translate what happens in the medium which is bases on time. how can you translate how everything connects, movement, time etc. its not a natural thing, not a natural feeling with photography. when you freeze something there is a lot of movement but a lot of stillness also, a paradox he is working with. makes it look static like a sculpture. 
 
The spaces became important to him, a lot of different arcuhtexture in all the spaces he went too. difference between the human form and what you can create with your body and then the way the building and the spaces were, something organic and something really built up. 
 
Men move feminine and females have a lot of muscle, a lot of cross over of what is masculine and what is feminine. how you use your body, what limited you can take it to. 
 
Like the idea of its not completely clear if its a man or a woman, it doesn’t really matter if it is or isn’t. 
 
How it became a book, had the idea from the start. he didn’t know what to do, had a naive outlook on it. When he started he didn’t have a developed idea of what to do and where to go, he was learning on the way he said this was his photography course he never went to study at uni or college. he didn’t have a clear idea of exactly what he wanted to be, he said it was a good and bad thing because if he and published his book initially with some of the first people it wouldn’t have become what it has. 
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