“Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.”- Maya Angelou
(Thank you Arassay Reyes and Danzaire Productions for sharing this amazing quote on your website. It has inspired this piece to come together as well as opening my eyes up even more to the connection between dance and our daily lives in general).
It is with great excitement that I share that this month’s header photo was taken by a very creative photographer and friend – AliRaza Panju.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Ali currently lives in Vancouver, BC, and is studying business. Ali has an obvious knack for using a camera. And I am thrilled to be able to feature this talented photographer and a range of his photos on Dance Me Free this month!
“Finally… some relaxation time,… time to catch up on some photography,” and “My best friend… my camera,” are just a few of the messages Ali posts on facebook, obviously very passionate about his art.
But it’s not until you actually take the time to look through this artist’s photos yourself that you truly understand how deeply Ali loves taking pictures but also the unique way in which he sees the world. Because through his photos, Ali is able to transform our everyday interactions with the people and our surroundings – moments that are often overlooked and hardly noticed by others- into creative visual stories that we can’t help but to be drawn to listen to, look at.
Every one of Ali’s photos- whether they be of a face, or of fireworks, or of a beach, or cultural event- seems to enliven its subject in a way that reaches out to the viewer and makes us ‘feel’ something. Whether it is joy, sadness, curiosity, tenderness or a sense of peace, the photos remind us of all the beauty that surrounds us, even in the simplest of things. And I guess it takes a photographer like Ali to bring this to our attention.
At first, I was only going to feature Ali’s photos that most obviously contained dancers and dance as the subject. But the more I looked through his photos, the more I could feel many of the components of dance in the ‘non-dancing’ images as well. Even the photos of bridges and birds, or nightscapes and buildings, contain many dance components within them: balance, repetition, rhythm, fluidity, varying textures, and a multitude of moods and/or emotions to name a few. At times, the photos appear finely choreographed with a punchy beat, loud and vibrant, while others times, some photos may seem smoother, more free flowing, like a lyrical dance made up of soft lines and pastel colours.
Even with something as ‘ordinary’ as an image of the sky, Ali is able to capture, in a still photo, the energy and pattern of the movement of the clouds, turning ordinary into extraordinary. He shows us how truly alive and intricate the world above us is, something we might never have taken the time to notice on our own. And again, this pattern immediately conjured up for me an image of the liberty and repetition of music, of dance- light dancing clouds in a deep blue dance floor.
Whether they are of children playing, rivers flowing, rocks sitting silent, or a boy carefully feeding a pigeon, all of Ali’s photos possess a certain rhythmical quality. The rhythms may vary in terms of speed, colour and the mood they convey, but all the photos seem to be ‘dancing’ nonetheless.
“Photography is my calling, my passion, and the thing that will undoubtedly drive me insane someday. Because I don’t just photograph subjects, I photograph the way they make me feel – and it’s the best way to describe my approach to the craft. I strive with every image I shoot. I assume perfection is possible and I want to bring it out in every picture I take.”
Thank you for sharing your craft with us, Ali!
To view more of Ali’s amazing photography, click here: AliRaza Photography