REVEALING THE DANCER HERSELF - an interview with Michael Baxter

MICHAEL BAXTER is an experienced photographer who was imprinted by the "Belly Dance Vortex," on July 4, 2004 when he met professional belly dancer Michelle Joyce in the photo studio in California. Since then he's met many new wonderful friends in belly dance, all over the world. He has created more than 45 TB of belly dance photos from studio and stage. He will be exhibiting his work at ZeoT Zürich in August 2016!

How I do it.
The very first thing is the dancer, Herself. We start by honoring her: who she is, what she favors, her teacher history,  all that makes her true self. What this requires is non-doing: totally letting go of ego in the work. In this way, I always view the camera as a tool to be used unconsciously. This does not mean non-thinking, or a lack of technical skill; it means far more powerful insight that emerges by letting go of the fruits of action, moving photography beyond perceptual and cognitive biases. This allows for work where the dancer is allowed to be an artist herself, who shares stakes in the collaborative outcome with me; she is no mere model, but in fact a powerful person who is equal. That's why all my fotos look so different: you see the dancer, Herself.

How to Prepare for a Belly Dance Photo Shoot.
(a classic from 2010, but it's all still true, and words I still do live by):

My Favorite Dancers.
Well, I do love them all! There are about 40 that who have worked with me repeatedly over the years. Our work together has grown exponentially. So, these are The Muses: a kind of Inner Harem built on trust and collaboration, a very great enlightenment. I cannot deny they are most-loved, and several have called me their Muse.

Publicity -- sigh, I'm ten years behind on a website, all because of Facebook; but then I got ahead 10 or maybe 15 years, by instead using social media:

Basically, everyone in belly dance can contact me this way. When I'm in Europe, we always use Facebook Messenger.