Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: Misty Copeland by Gregg Delman

This stunning volume of photographs captures the sculpturally exquisite and iconic ballerina. Misty Copeland has single-handedly infused diversity and personality into the insular world of ballet, creating an unexpected resurgence of appreciation within contemporary popular culture.
Her story is famously what movies are made of, and in 2015 she became an icon and household name when she became the first African-American female principal dancer in the long and prestigious history the American Ballet Theatre. Copeland’s physique is what sculptures are modeled on, heralding the new physical ideal of strength and athleticism, beauty and grace.
Misty Copeland is a collection of gorgeous, artful photographs by celebrated photographer Gregg Delman, taken in many studio visits from 2011 through 2014. Delman’s talent for capturing movement is reflected in these images, which range from formal ballet positions to more athletic poses and candid moments, all together building an intimate portrait of Copeland as an athlete, an artist, and a woman.With striking and vibrant color photographs, this incredibly intimate volume is a visual tribute to the brilliant mystique of Misty Copeland, showcasing both her grace and strength.
With short texts by Copeland and Delman, this book will be beloved by a diverse audience who share a common appreciation of fine photography and the human form.

Rating: 4 Stars

 Misty Copeland is a beautiful dancer, there's no denying that. I don't know much about her, though I have seen articles about her on occasion in the newspaper or online. I wish there were more opportunities for me to attend one of her shows because from the look of things in this photography collection, she is a stunning dancer whose range of motion is something that shouldn't be missed.

Gregg Delman, the photographer that worked with Misty for this collection, had a rather good eye for composition. He managed to capture some positions that I didn't think possible. I'm still not sure how they managed to get some of these shots at just the right moment. It takes a keen eye, or at least a fast shutter speed, to manage that.

Misty was an amazing subject. She's a beautiful woman to begin with and from what I gathered in her forward, she worked with Mr. Delman almost entirely on her on. She did her own makeup, wore her own costumes, etc. She doesn't seem to have had a diva attitude at all and I think her good nature came across in her facial expression in many of the portraits.

As lovely as many of these pictures were, the reason the book gets knocked down a star for me is that the order of the photos and the construction of the book itself leave something to be desired. There are several pictures that get cutoff in the middle because they're spread out across two pages, essentially cutting Misty's pose in two and taking away from the experience.

This was the first book I'd picked up regarding Misty Copeland and I'm curious to see what other books would have to say about her, especially if there was one that combined the artistic nature I saw here and a literary approach to the role she was embodying at the time.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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