Emily Reuman and Eric MamuzichDecember 2014 How Philly Moves community dance photo sessions at Christ Church Neighborhood Housephoto ¬© Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.netFor more info:http://www.jjtiziou.nethttp://www.HowPhillyMoves.orghttp://EveryoneIsPhotogenic.com
For the first time since 2011, JJ Tiziou has returned to his photography project How Philly Moves. The project, started in 2008, invites any self-identified Philadelphia dancer to participate in community photo sessions. This past December, Tiziou held a community photo session at Christ Church Neighborhood House, where he photographed 123 Philadelphians. The shoot took about three and a half days.
“As expected it was just a pretty amazing happening. There were a lot of really beautiful moments. Really special, unique, unexpected things that are hard to describe in words really,” Tiziou said about the event.
“It is not about a photo shoot; it is really about them dancing however they want to dance for themselves, and then the only performance is really me trying to make images of it.”
For the first time during the December community photoshoot, Tiziou swapped roles and took a spot in front of the camera.
“People have jokingly asked, ‘why don’t you have a turn in this thing?’ So this time what I did was the last session as we were wrapping up the day, I put my camera on a tripod and went and danced around like a complete idiot for about four minutes. It was just really interesting to be on the receiving end of my own medicine,” he said. “It was really fun. It was really magical to experience this thing that I’ve facilitated for a lot of people.”
Tiziou added that the next step in the process, editing the photos, can be challenging.
“The editing is a challenge because I make a lot of images very quickly,” he said. “I’m getting to know the dancers movements for the first time, I’m not posing or directing them. So I’m responding really intuitively, and I’m trying to create images that have hint of movement.”
What ends up happening while shooting in this style, according to Tiziou, is that a lot of the images don’t end up coming out too well.
“So what ends up happening is that I go through a lot of crummy pictures to find the gems because I’m not perfectly synced up with the dancers.”
Regardless of how the images come out, Tiziou said the photoshoot is a still a success.
“In a sense, regardless of what any of the pictures look like, to me the thing is already a success because the photos are sort of a relic of the actual happening, and from all the feedback that I’ve gotten from all the participants, for some it was a transformative moment, a liberating moment, a real space of warmth, and community and celebration. It’s already successful, even if I don’t have a single good picture of it. But obviously as a photographer I want to have a good picture of it.”
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On February 7, Tiziou will hold an event at Christ Church Neighborhood House which will include a report back on How Philly Moves as well as music by Monica McIntyre and Red Hot Ramblers, video by Ellen Reynolds, and more announcements from Tiziou.
The event is currently sold out, but tickets for the waitlist are available.
Image via JJ Tiziou-30-
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