Kathy Mata Ballet Dec 2010 - ChristineFu

So what's an image that best represents and concludes the year 2010 for me? Breathtaking landscapes? Awe-inspiring dance movements? Adorable children? No it’s this one, albeit extremely flawed, somehow calling out to me more than the rest. The exposure was too dark; the focus was soft; the composition was crappy; the background was cluttered. By no means representing my best technical and artistic ability. Yet the emotion is unmistakably contagious.

I was shooting Kathy Mata Ballet's benefit Christmas show at Castro Senior Center. While the audience was clapping to exhilarating drum beats during a belly dance performance, I overheard some people whispering excitedly to each other: "Look, look behind you!" I turned around and saw this elderly lady dancing along, completely immersed in the music as if she's performing on stage. I quickly snapped a few underexposed shots (the room was darker than the stage which was what I needed to focus on). What could be a bigger compliment and reward to an artist, than having the audience not only sharing but participating in your joy? The lady may not know about shimmies or undulations or pirouettes or jetes, and her face is no longer youthful. But when I look at this image, I see beauty, radiance, and hope.

I can't even begin to describe how much the newfound bliss of dance and photography touched my life. As my photog friend David Yu likes to say, "shoot with the heart not the camera." This, my friends, is what I want to share with you. =))