JAMES COUSINS COMPANY X CAMILLA GREENWELL 

IN SEARCH OF SANCTUARY

FILM | PHOTOGRAPHY | SHOP
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VIRTUAL GALLERY

Welcome to the

WELCOME

Over the past 6 months our lives have all changed. Confined to our houses we have had to adapt to new ways of working and interacting. For dancers, who’s daily lives involved hours of being in close proximity with each other, this shift has felt monumental.

 

We set out to capture this moment in the lives of four company dancers, photographing them in their homes as well as places which have provided moments of sanctuary during the months of lockdown. The project shows the vulnerability of this moment in their careers and gives a look beyond the polished and perfected performance audiences are used to seeing. 

 

Scroll down to view the film. We recommend you expanding the window to view full screen and to wear headphones for the best audio experience. Unfortunately we don't have subtitles on the film but you can download the transcript hereThe gallery follows the film. Click on the + throughout for insights from the creative team.

We hope you enjoy.

Photo: Camilla Greenwell
Photo: Camilla Greenwell
Photo: Camilla Greenwell

There was beautiful sunlight hitting the corner of Anna-Kay's kitchen, so I asked her to move within that very confined space, between the wall and the sink. As she begun to move it was as if the walls melted away and nothing was limiting her at all.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

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This is one of my favourite images of the series; Jemima looks so part of what she is doing, so focused, almost in a state of meditation.

Her hands reaching upwards really struck me; it was a movement she kept coming back to. I love the contrast of strength and delicacy contained within the hands, especially dancers hands, which so beautifully convey emotion in place of words.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

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This shot feels very intimate. Rhys put on music and got lost in it which allowed me to capture these almost meditative moments.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

When I move with my eyes closed I feel at one with myself

 

Rhys Dennis

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I love the contrast of these somewhat painterly images of Jemima. The almost biblical-rennaisance painting feel to the image of Jemima sat captures her calm within her isolation compared with the more energetic feel of the blurred image where I feel she is trying to escape. Neither were directed, Jemima just used the scenario and space to influence her movement.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

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I intended on using the prism to create distortion and make the images unrecognisable, however what ended up happening was it created these beautiful blocks of light which partially obscured the dancers and partially reflected them, creating a sense of their inner world and personal reflection.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

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The unsettling feeling of uncertainty, a state of limbo, inability to plan for the future and lack of control were all challenging to accept.

 

Julie Ann Minaai

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I wanted to take some strong portraits of Anna-Kay but with a little distortion to them. In this one you can see the reflection of the world map she had on her wall; both a nod to all the travelling she has done as a dancer but also a comment on how small our worlds have become during lockdown.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

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Photo: Camilla Greenwell
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Protect yourself. Cover yourself. Be safe. The outside world can't hurt you. Your thoughts are just your thoughts.

 

Anna-Kay Gayle

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I only used natural light in this project. I tended to work in whichever space the light was best and let that dictate the locations. We had started off filming in the living room but it wasn't feeling right, but later when I poked my head back in this glowing sunlight was flooding in. We didn't have long to catch it.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

This is one of my favourite images. I'm often so focused on the obvious shot that I can forget to step back and look at what else might be going on. Anna-Kay's shadow dancing in the sunlight feels both joyful and melancholic.

Camilla Greenwell 

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I enjoy the play between performative and domestic in this image. It's not how you'd expect to encounter someone in their kitchen yet feels very familiar. I also loved the affirmations written on the board and wanted to capture them in the image.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

The kitchen and kitchen window were two spaces I found myself constantly engaged with in lockdown. I feel Camilla has really captured the deep contemplative state I often found myself in and the stillness which I spent much time learning to embrace. 

I found a lot of peace looking out the window, watching the trees and the wind in their interconnected dance.

 

Anna-Kay Gayle

This project made me change what I let in my shots. Normally I very carefully craft the frame to ensure the background works. However here we were trying to catch the everyday and the reality of the home so I let things in, like the kettle, which I'd normally avoid. I love what it's created though, an honesty yet also something slightly surreal.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

I wanted to get a wider shot of Rhys in a very obvious home environment, but to contrast this with his movement to create something that feels out of place yet beautiful in this space.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

I love this silhouette of Rhys framed simultaneously against the sky and within this window frame.

It gives a sense of restriction and freedom, and reflects the simplicity that our lives were reduced to during lockdown - being inside our homes or outside but never being able to stray too far.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

The lack of touch, intimacy and connection is something I have battled with this whole year, and quite honestly, still battling. This images captures a desire to feel again; to be help and felt by another. I enjoyed 

experiencing the cold wall on my skin.

 

Anna-Kay Gayle 

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There is often so much joy when Anna-Kay dances. I feel in this shot I managed to capture the energy which is constantly exuding from her.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

There were countless moments throughout the day where I forgot I was being watched because I was so lost in myself and my happiness. I am pleased that Camilla got to experience  and capture a moment of joy as it is the joy of movement that has connected me to myself in lockdown and is ultimately the reason why I dance.

Anna-Kay Gayle

Julie had spoken to me about spaces feeling shaped by her mind as opposed to the actual space themselves so again using the prism I played with bringing in different elements and making the space feel like it had different parts to it - maybe internal and external. 

 

Camilla Greenwell 

The mind is a powerful tool in how we perceive the world around us.One day our homes can feel like a safe haven but the next like confinement. Even an open outdoor space can feel restrictive and suffocating due the fences that define it's borders.

 

Julie Ann Minaai

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Having spent the morning shooting indoors, moving to an outdoor public space was awakening. It forced me to actively connect with the natural surroundings of the canal, whereas I normally use this space to feel invisible and observe others around me. 

 

Rhys Dennis 

I was keen to also capture the dancers not moving. To present their reflectiveness and thoughtfulness within their stillness.

Camilla Greenwell 

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This image for me captures the beauty of the day. It was very special to have Camilla capture some very personal moments as I moved through my emotions, conversing with my own thoughts and states of understanding.

 

Jemima Brown 

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To capture this moment I was laid flat on the ground and Jemima was on some steps above me. There's the obvious dance reference in these images but more than that I think they totally capture freedom. I love how perfect the sky was and it gives us no sense of place; we could be anywhere in the world.

 

Camilla Greenwell 

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Dance and working with others through touch and a physical means of expression are a big part of who I am. There were times during the pandemic when I felt a loss of identity. I really feel Camilla captured this in these images.

Julie Ann Minaai

The park where we shot was very busy when we arrived, making it hard for Julie to find a moment of quiet. However the fact it was a struggle makes these images even more special to me. I feel they convey the attempt within her to find peace, in spite of the chaos around her.

Camilla Greenwell 

Peckham Rye Park. The place I went to frequently for a walk, to sit and find peace of mind. I spent a lot of time walking barefoot to ground myself, especially on days when I felt anxious and overwhelmed by everything going on outside of myself. It was great to reconnect to this space with Camilla, to be with the earth, find balance and just be.

Camilla Greenwell 

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This image was actually shot in front of an old decaying stage in Crystal Palace park that was impossible to reach because of the moat of water around the edges. It felt very apt to be shooting here, in sight of an empty stage, when so many artists would love to be on one performing.

Camilla Greenwell 

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