Hand in hand, on the edge of the sand

Wayne McGregor | Random dance's ATOMOS and quote by Edward Lear, (c) Carole Edrich 2015

Wayne McGregor | Random dance’s ATOMOS and quote by Edward Lear, (c) Carole Edrich 2015

“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon” comes from Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’. I chose it because it conveys the thrill of brinksmanship, of the risk of creativity and the romance of moonlight. It’s also clear that the Owl and the Pussy Cat weren’t short of a few bob. Since they took “plenty of money wrapped up in a five pound note” at a time when five pounds was quite a respectable sum. Sadly most modern dancers don’t have this sort of money to spare, or at least not to spare for photographers. Recently one dancer claimed to be offended when I suggested she read about costs, expenses and values of photography so that she had an idea of what she might offer some photographers I represented in lieu of money and another asked why I hadn’t spent 10 days processing images for what was essentially pro-bono work. As these and similar experiences mount up, I find it less and less surprising that so many good dance photographers have stopped doing what they love. When considered in the light of proposed changes in copyright law, in what defines an orphan work and in the reduction of the percentage of royalties paid to the originator of original art works, I can’t help wondering if we’ll end up a society of amateur artists and a public that can’t tell the difference between commercial, cynical, good and bad.

If you like this quote and enjoy my blog please consider supporting me by buying my recent book ‘The Joy of Dance’. It includes many other inspirational quotes about and by dancers along with fascinating facts and captivating stories about as many different types of dances, dancers, personalities and cultures as I could cram in. It contains no photos but some lovely illustrations.

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