As Graceful As Flowers

story and photos by Julie Bertram

I love the natural light of the outdoors, and have enjoyed photographing birds, insects, flowers and landscapes for many years. Recently, I met Karah Charette, a dance student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, and I shared with her an idea – photographing dancers outside (literally) of their traditional places on a stage.

I have always wanted to capture their grace and beauty in a natural setting, like in the woods or a park.

With Karah as my model, I took my first dance photos in Mertensia Park in Farmington. The experience lit a spark,
and since then I have worked with many other dancers.

Sometimes I like them to blend into the environment, while other times I like to contrast their traditional pointe shoes and costumes with totally unexpected backdrops. Often the dancers and I exchange ideas about what the setting offers us: a textured tree branch, an ancient bridge, colorful wildflowers or tall grasses in a field.

I’d like to photograph dancers throughout the Finger Lakes – the region provides many inspirational scenes. My thanks go out to the talented dancers who have given me this opportunity.

To see more of Julie’s photography, contact her at

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