Steve Vaccariello's portraits of dancers
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Steve Vaccariello's portraits of dancers

Luciana, 2014. Photo by Steve Vaccariello

'I do not touch my dance work with Photoshop. Never!' says portrait photographer Steve Vaccariello. That's a bold statement in the digital age, but the photographer is no luddite. After surviving in the high pressure arena of New York portrait photography for more than twenty years, his extended portfolio of commercial, celebrity and beauty work has certainly seen its share of image enhancement.

When working with dancers, however, Vaccariello likes to keep it old school. His reductionist lighting is minimal but bold; designed to stay out of the way of the movements of the performers. Impressed by his studio work with dancers, Nikon tapped the photographer's talents to highlight the powerful capabilities of the SB-900 Speedlight flash upon its release in 2010. He also counts the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Finlandia, MasterCard and the Washington Ballet as a few of his more noteworthy clients. 

'I would rather be behind my camera creating new work than sitting in front of a computer any day!' he continues. 'I imagine that I am shooting a piece of film, which I still do a lot of incidentally. I perfect the light, the angle, the move, the backdrop... all before ever asking the dancer to exert himself or herself. Even if there is dirt on the seamless I will clean it. I want to look through the lens and 'see my final product' as close as I can possibly get it!'

Based out of New York, Vaccariello started his career in Cleveland shooting for local new outlets while moonlighting as a medical photographer for a hospital and morgue. See his commercial, celebrity and dance portraiture at his website and find out more about him in our Q&A.