Lois Greenfield: Photography

Sam Mosher © Lois Greenfield-1995

“When New York based photographer Lois Greenfield first began taking photographs during the late 60s, her dream was to be a photojournalist for National Geographic. After graduating from Brandeis University in 1970, she started working towards this goal, freelancing for Boston’s counter-cultural newspapers, photographing everything from maximum-security prisons to rock concerts. Having never studied photography in a classroom, she taught herself everything she needed to know as she encountered obstacles and opportunities during her assignments.

Being assigned to cover a dance concert was one such obstacle: knowing nothing about the dance world or how to photograph movement, it took Lois a while to master photographing the unpredictable movement and lighting of dancers on a stage. When the time she returned to New York City, though, she had gotten the hang of it. Not only that, but she found herself very intrigued by the subjects themselves. It was a relief to work in an area where she only needed to worry about the visual interest in her photographs, rather than editorial relevancy.

As the modern and postmodern dance world in New York took flight, Lois photographed as many dance rehearsals as she could, developing her technique and reputation, and regularly working for The Village Voice, The New York Times, Dance Magazine, and many others. By 1978, she had grown frustrated with the documentary approach. Rather than trying capture someone else’s art form, Lois wanted to find a visual syntax of her own.

Whenever she could manage it, she invited dancers to join her in experimentation, and in 1980, finally set up her own studio. In this environment, she wasn’t limited to the traditional expectations of the nascent genre of dance photography, and could explore quirky configurations and unusual moments. She spent less time interpreting choreography and more time employing dancers as creative tools for her own artistic vision. Her images expressed the joy and excitement of movement, liberated from the constraints of choreography.” (bio from artist website)

“The ostensible subject of my photographs may be motion, but the subtext is Time. A dancer’s movements illustrate the passage of time, giving it a substance, materiality, and space. In my photographs, time is stopped, a split second becomes an eternity, and an ephemeral moment is solid as sculpture.”

Throughout her prolific career, Greenfield has continued to photograph both the world’s most well known dance companies as well as talented emerging artists, while maintaining a thriving commercial photography business, whose international clients have included Disney, Pepsi, AT&T, Sony, Hanes, Raymond Weil and Rolex.

To see more of Greenfield’s stunning images visit LoisGreenfield.com.