TWB_WONDERLAND_BTS_NEENAH22_FINAL
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7 Comments

Wonderland: Romeo & Juliet, The Final Kiss

Written by in Profiles

 

This is the last in a series of posts about the work for the Washington Ballet by DC-based Design Army. The book, Wonderland, was produced to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the dance company and to help it raise important operating funds. The results have been sensational.

 

Against the Grain
How does this selected image fit into the book’s narrative?

Design Army
This is our recreation of Romeo and Juliet. We designed it more as an emotional rather than a recreation of an image from ballet. It is a visual break in the book. In Wonderland, this image also suggests the line “Down, Down, Down the Rabbit Hole” and the line “if you drink much from a bottle marked POSION it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.”

Against the Grain
What were two or three of the most challenging aspects of this particular photo shoot?

Design Army
The biggest obstacle was how to get our sheet-rope to the top of a 50′ tower. We had a 24 ft ladder that carried us almost half way. Next, we employed a heavy rock and that we tied to the sheet and tossed toss over the top. It took awhile. The other creepy and challenging part was shooting underground – you could only see about 25 ft in front of you, and we were in an area the size of several football fields. You could hear things running in the background. We were hoping that they were only rats, not people.

 

Against the Grain
Did the performer perform this feat of physical artistry live? Was there any Photoshop retouching done?

Design Army
We had to retouch some of the outdoor shots because the grass and surrounding area was littered with garbage and our lights. With the dancers we did some basic retouching of their skin to add some “glow” and emotion. These dancers are in shape and easy on the eyes so not too much retouching was needed.

 

Against the Grain
Where was this shot taken?

Design Army
This was shot at the McMillan Filtration Plant. It is a HUGE area in the northeast section of DC where they used to treat wastewater. Above ground there are rows of 50′ venting towers across many acres. Underground you find a cavern of vaulted areas filled with 5′ of sand. Above these caverns are sporadic “depth check holes,” basically manhole covers used for tests of the system. We pulled off one lid and lit it with an HMI light to simulate a sunbeam — and to create a romantic mood. We shot directly down on Romeo and Juliet to give a nice juxtaposition of shadow and light.

Against the Grain
How long did the shoot last and how many crew were there?

Design Army
This shot took about 2 hours from set up to break down with a crew of about 20.

Against the Grain
How many frames did you shoot?

Design Army
Around 400+ frames for the four separate shots we needed.

Against the Grain
Any other interesting thing you would like to add?

Design Army
On the first frames we shot underground we really had explore the poses since we were confined to a sheet of plywood covered with sheets – so ballet poses were difficult at best. We turned to an emotional pose to capture what Romeo and Juliet were about. This place would make the ultimate RAVE party setting. In the spring we are going to try to get the city to allow us to do a Wonderland party there – but we are not sure if we can get the permit.

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    11:11am
    Elements said:

    We love the design of our old friend Neenah Paper’s new blog – great interview with another group we’re fans of – the good people at Design Army! Can’t wait to see what else is being cooked up!

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    12:21pm

    Beautiful! I’m curious to know if any special spot varnishes or techniques will be used for the actual printing to bring out some of the different textures and contrasts in these incredible photographs.

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    5:19pm
    Dave Stock said:

    Great use of a modern facility to give the piece a Medieval feel…..

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    1:08pm
    RJ said:

    This is in incredible.

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    10:00am

    When Design Army scooped us about their upcoming book – was mesmerized by the concept. Recommend the actual book which serves as a fund-raiser.Smart concept all around.. and the pictures? Wonderful aptly sums it up.

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    7:12pm
    Patti Gail Bland said:

    These shots are just beautiful. The connection of these two dancers has been beautiful on stage for the past many years. Beautiful work, beautiful book and beautiful dancers.

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    11:58pm
    KM said:

    Very inspiring. Keep up good work!