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Ballet at the Salle Labrouste Reading Room

It’s not often that we get permission to do ballet photoshoots indoors, but whenever it happens, we know that we would be in for a treat! During a whirlwind 2 day trip to Paris last year, we managed to gain access to the spectacular Salle Labrouste reading room located at the Biblioth√®que de l’INHA. Designed by the renowned architect Henri Labrouste in the late 19th century, this structure showcases his innovative use of iron, an industrial material that exhibits both potential for elegance and functionality. What is also incredible is how this magnificent room is housed in such a nondescript grey looking building when viewed from street level.


We arrived at the reading room early in the morning, and had barely an hour to shoot before the place opened to public. With gentle light streaming through nine large oculi overhead, the whole scene took on a serene and contemplative atmosphere. And it was against this mood that we created art together with two dancers from the world-famous Paris Opera BalletThomas Docquir and Nais Duboscq.


It’s always challenging starting a shoot with lifts as the body hasn’t fully warmed up yet, but both Thomas and Nais were up to the task. The elegance of their pose complemented the composition beautifully.


The camera sometimes lies. The space on this narrow platform was a lot narrower than it looked so there were limits to what Thomas and Nais could do. We were also not allowed to touch the books. Despite these restrictions, their pose epitomized how beauty can be found in simplicity.


As Nais looked so angelic in her white leo and tutu, we just had to grab a solo shot of her too.


Given the chance, we could have easily spent the whole day here. But, our time was almost up and pretty soon, all the desks below would be filled with people. But for the brief few minutes remaining, the endless rows of lampshades formed a captive audience to their pas de deux.


Six Senses Photography would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful staff of Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA) for granting us permission to photograph here, and making our shoot such a smooth one!


All images are the property of Irving Neil Kwok, Six Senses Photography and protected by international copyright laws. Any publication or distribution of images in this Blog without my express permission are strictly prohibited.


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