Andrea Paolini Merlo
Zsˇfia Gyarmati
Ballet Photography

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Andrea Paolini Merlo

My primary profession is that of dancer and choreographer at the Hungarian National Ballet Company and I think photography is an ideal instrument to catch the harmony and beauty of dance. The body, as a visible form of our existence is the most direct instrument of communication man can have and this instrument can be controlled totally by the dancer. With their sculpture figure endowed with strong, flexible and slender body they can be considered as athletes who devoted themselves to art, always in continue evolution. My intention is to immortalize the never-ending moments of this moving art by photography where artists become a "living instrument" by their own histories and personalities. I deem connection with dancers both in my profession of choreography and in photography elementary. This connection is always bidirectional and is based on mutual inspiration.

In 1987, I began to photograph during a journey to the homeland of my mother, the fabulous Argentina. Before the start of the plane my father gave me a totally manual Exakta Varex IIb camera with a 2,8/50 Zeiss Tessar lens and a Travemat light-meter. I will never forget that day.

Beginning with this day, a new perspective opened for me to the world: I have learned to see and estimate precisely all the miracles surrounding us. The Exakta camera became my indispensable partner. During my three weeks of travelling I was not stopping to ask my father technical questions and I was musing observantly for a few minutes before taking a photo. Since then my interest has been arising continuously and I became shortly a fanatic of detail and quality. I often forgot that emphasizing the artistic side is always more important than the professional part. An important milestone of my studies was reading the three marvellous volumes from Ansel Adams in 1988. I was falling in love with his art and "Zone System" technique immediately. So I began to use medium format cameras in 1989. In the very beginning I was using a Pentacon Six camera; afterwards I started to use the Hasselblad 500C and the Contax 645 cameras. At the same time I began to experiment in the Darkroom, developing B&W films and photographic papers.

As a fan of technology and progress I was following interestedly the coming of the digital era. I loved the appearance of programs like Photoshop but not equally the first digital cameras. So I only decided in 2007 to buy my first Canon SLR digital with rigorously a full frame sensor, and lately a Phase One digital back for the medium format. I began in 1998 to follow and experiment the digital printing and scanning techniques of Epson. By now I'm convinced that these techniques can achieve extraordinary results if they are used professionally and with good sense.


Andrea Paolini Merlo

Dancer CV



All photographs by Andrea Paolini Merlo and Zsˇfia Gyarmati © A. P. Merlo All rights reserved.
A special thanks to all the dancers present on this Website for their creativity and support.