Eleanor Quinn

As part of an exercise for her Art of Photography course Eleanor Quinn was asked to find a public event to shoot a sequence of composition.

Eleanor is another example of a student whom I think has explored the brief beyond what was asked of her and has produced some captivating photographs. I asked Eleanor to explain her approach;

‘The examples suggested were a ‘parade’ or ‘market’, which I thought were a little predictable and I wanted to do something different, something a bit more challenging. Having worked in theatre before, I thought this setting would be perfect for what I had in mind and indeed quite a challenging environment to work in. 


I also knew the stage lighting in the theatre would provide beautiful shadows and highlights for my black and white photographs. So I began contacting several theatre/dance companies and after many rejections I had a positive response from the Vienna Festival Ballet, who kindly invited me to photograph their dancers before a performance at the Parr Hall in Warrington. ‘


I think Eleanor’s use of light highlights the innate dramatic nature of theatre, the synergy that exists between the fierce strength and skill of the dancers with the graceful feminine beauty of ballet. When I look at them I can’t help but think of Degas’ ballerinas, the influence of photography evident in the odd, unexpected, and irregular compositions of his paintings. He thought nothing of cutting off a figure at the painting’s edge and called photography “an image of magical instantaneity”

I asked Eleanor to choose her favourite image and why;

‘This photograph is my favourite from this exercise. I love the graceful pose of the dancer who looks like she moves around the stage with such ease. There are distractions in the background, yet my eye is drawn to her. She has a look of concentration in her eyes as she runs a routine over in her head.

el 1

In my blog I said ‘black and white photography creates more drama in an image yet simplicity at the same time’ and I think this photograph more than any of the others proves this. In colour, there would be too many distractions retracting your attention away from the subject and taking away the drama created by the beautiful shadows and highlights. 

Before beginning my course with OCA, I never used to photograph people, apart from family and friends. My comfort zone was photographing animals/nature and I stuck to what I knew. This course has forcing my out of that comfort zone and thrown me into a new way of seeing the world through my camera. I love to photograph people now. I can go out with my camera into town or local event and look for moments to capture.’

To view more of Eleanor’s sequence of photographs visit her blog here


  1. Dewald 4 June 2014 at 2:29 pm


    There is something special about doing behind-the-scenes work 🙂
    All the best!

  2. Catherine 4 June 2014 at 3:27 pm

    You’ve certainly come a long way from being apprehensive re photographing people Eleanor. This is a lovely series and I enjoyed seeing more of them on your blog.

  3. dougslr 6 June 2014 at 9:21 am

    These are really interesting Eleanor and a lovely series, which I enjoyed looking at.. Challenging yourself like this was braver than I have been. Well done


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