It is a mark of an artist to find beauty in even the most mundane of places. That’s exactly what photographer Khalid Ibrahim did with the alley he walks by every day. What struck him about it was the drama.
“It has these beautiful straight lines and it gets dramatically darker as you go in,” Ibrahim said.
But instead of taking photographs of the building by itself, Ibrahim took his work a step further and decided to add a human element — as well as relinquishing a little bit of his artistic control.
“I’m a primarily commercial photographer, so when I’m doing commercial work it’s for a very specific purpose and I’m kind of controlling everything that’s in the image, lighting, expression, the person in the image — everything. And I wanted to see what happens if it was a real collaboration between the subject and me,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim contacted dancers and asked them to choreograph a 10-second piece to fit the spaces he chose to photograph, giving no input on their dancing. What resulted was a blend of his own and the dancer’s interpretation.
“Some buildings have curves, and the curves of the dancer mimic the curve of the building in some way,” Ibrahim said. “And there are others that are really staccato lines and that is evident in the movement.”
These variable expressions feature both ballet and modern dance, are now open to the public in a formal exhibition entitled “In Place: Dancers + Architecture.” The exhibitions will also kick off the opening of East Lansing’s East Arbor Architecture + Gallery’s new space.
“This will be our first exhibition in the new space and our design studio was about 300 square feet at the old location, and half of that 300 square feet was the plus gallery,” Amanda Harrell-Seyburn said, who is the curator of the exhibit. “Now the design studio is 300 square feet and the plus gallery has tripled in size. We’re in a much larger space and the fact that we’re an architecture firm that also has an art gallery space, the idea of photography that has an architecture emphasis made a lot of sense.”
Ibrahim is also the owner of the Michigan-based Eat Pomegranate photography studio.
In Place: Dancers + Architecture
Aug. 11 – Sept. 29
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / by appointment.
East Arbor Architecture + Gallery
405 Grove St., East Lansing