365 Days of Dance

French-American Dancer, Mickael Jou Takes Self Portraits that Capture his Effortless Mid-air Moves

Caught mid-action, and often in mid-air, Mickeal Jou’s 365 series showcases his charming dance abilities, packed with energy and joy. Starting off as a dancer, Mickael only moved into photography after realising that it was another medium he could really use to express his emotions.

‘I was dancing in the streets of Paris, and I saw the pictures that tourists took of me,’ Mickael explained to us. ‘I thought it was pretty, but it wasn’t expressing the emotion that I feel when I’m dancing. I thought it would be nice to have pictures that could translate this emotion I was feeling when I dance.’

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We had to find out more about these graceful, poetic pieces, so had a chat with Mickeal about how and why he embarked on this series.

The Plus: Do you have someone to help with this self-portrait photography, or is your camera set on automatic?
Mickael Jou:
I have my tripod, a remote control, and I either use automatic or manual focus, depending on lighting or the trickiness of the situation. I always photograph alone, but sometimes I’ll ask someone on the street to stand in the exact position where I’ll be in the photo so that I can adjust manual focus.
I make sure that my pictures are at least at 1/500 in terms of shutter speed so that I don’t look blurry.

TP: Do you already know how you want a shot to look before you do it?
MJ:
Most of the time I see a location I like and then get inspired to put myself into the scene. Everything else is quite spontaneous, but I mostly choose the location first as that is the most important. A good location is not always easy to find!

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TP: Then what are your steps after you find a good spot?
MJ:
When I’m on location, then I decide if I want do something related to dance, or if I just want to jump and make it look like I’m levitating. Not every scene is good for one or the other, so I have to choose, and then if I want to dance, then I have to warm up and make sure that I’m wearing the right clothing.

TP: Can you tell us about any exciting, upcoming plans for projects or exhibitions?
MJ:
I’m currently exhibiting in a bar in Berlin called Mokkabar.

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