The Lens of Lois Greenfield
An essay of gratitude
by Noelle Rose Andressen (c) 2016
Every dancer has a dream or a goal unique to hers or his journey. It may be to: portray particular roles; to dance on various stages or in grand venues; partner with a specific dancer; work under a creative choreographer; or attain another mark of achievement with a special value that only he or she can truly understand. My personal dream was to work with world legendary dance photographer: Lois Greenfield.
A little note: In January, 2006 I had just rid my body of cancer round one. We had sold our home to pay for my treatment. No insurance. We didn't have a home, we had very little in the bank, only a hope that things could get better. Keep this in mind as we progress forward with my tale because within 10 years, I went from cancer to dancer and in front of Lois Greenfield's Lens.
The Seed Planted
Going back a few years, my modern dance instructor first introduced me to Lois's photographic art-work. She had one of Lois's photos in the transparent cover of her notebook. I was immediately enthralled and fell in love with the way the dancer's body was captured on film in a still moment. This instructor had, I believe, one of Lois's calendars too. The images were beautiful and mind-boggling. How was this style photography achieved? I had of course seen Lois's trademark photography before early in my training days around the early 1990's, how could one not notice them. I just didn't know who the photographer was and too "into" my young adult self to research. As a mature adult however, I did the research and fell more in love with this amazing artist and greatly wanted to work with her. At that time I had to settle for gazing at my instructor's photos and calendars and dream.
During the years, I would recall my desire and yet knew how far away it was. The cancer had wrecked my body, heart, mind and spirit. Cancer has a way of stripping one raw to the bone. I had a long way to go to get my dancer's body back. I worked hard. I went back to school, got another degree, and most importantly rehabilitated my broken body. My skills, maturity, and life experiences changed me and grew me. I was creating a persona for myself as a professional dancer and learning how to express myself deeper. My notoriety rose and things were going well for myself and my company and then finally I had my opportunity to work with Lois.
Love from the Sun
First meeting her face to face was a surreal joy. A very warm and embracing woman with a spunky heart and brilliant smile. She was hospitable to me and my assistant and had all those goodies dancers love so they can warm up properly. I entered her creative lair, I was so elated. I was also overwhelmed. In a few moments I was finally going to be in front of Lois's lens permanently recorded in her work. I felt so inadequate. She told me to breathe. That word again "Breathe" had taken on new significance and new meaning for me over my lifetime. It would recreate itself to mold into the hurting nook in my heart and offer a salve of healing for that moment.
I may constantly be telling others how beautiful they are and can see their inner sparkle, but never quite seeing mine. Lois helped me to see my beauty that day we shot. Every time she had me look in the monitor at her handiwork, I was thinking "Is that really me?" It was. My dream was now a reality. Later that night, I snuggled in bed and giggled to myself, "I just had a photo shoot with Lois Greenfield!" Sleep came upon me quick and hard. It was such a joyous day.
I've worked with fabulous photographers, all of whom I adored. They each have their particular strengths and I love the collaborative process. Most of the time we had produced incredible results that are or were beyond my initial concepts and when that occurs, it's like magic and a hugely successful marketing plan ensues. Learning the skill and art of collaboration through my professional dance career has been exciting and paved the way for more to come. My experience with Lois was a breathless venture that gave me such insight into this talented woman, her work, and myself. Perhaps I should rephrase it to say:
I became a living part of this woman's art.
I am still in awe that this manifested for me. Looking back, I cannot put my finger on "it" how "it" all happened except to say that there are things greater than us at work sometimes and we just have to accept the gifts as they come. I am forever grateful for this woman who captured a beauty within me that I never knew existed.
Thank You Lois! XOXO
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Noelle Andressen is an Emmy nominated writer, producer and music arranger. She has authored the 5 book series: "Dance Warrior" Book Series. The first book is set to be released very soon. She is also a dancer-choreographer that has had the privilege of being photographed by legendary dance photographer Lois Greenfield (photo release 2016). She's known for her many works on camera as an actress and behind the lens as a story-teller with her screenplays. She took this skill and applied it to her dance company: Rubans Rouges Dance and creates thought provoking "Dance Drama" that beckons you to "Feel the Experience" (TM/slogan mark).