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Mickael Jou's Ballet-inspired Self Portraits

Mickael Jou's Ballet-inspired Self Portraits

Picture of Emily Brown
Updated: 12 October 2016
Mickael Jou has embarked upon a gravity-defying dance project which sees his two creative careers become one — photography and dance. The French-American artist has merged these passions to create his ‘365 self-portrait project,’ which features everyday settings, including a supermarket, a park, and a museum hallway, as backdrops for his captivating dance moves.

Mickael Jou, who began dancing when he was 18, described the inspiration behind his photography project saying, ‘tourists would quite often photograph and film me dancing in Paris, and after seeing the pictures they’d taken of me, I figured that I should try it out for myself.’

Over the past three years, Mickael Jou has collected an assortment of snaps which show him dancing through the air for his ‘365 self-portrait project.’ He describes the project’s timeline saying, ‘it will probably take another three years to finish.’

The 30-year-old Berlin-based dancer said he puts a lot of thought into the location of his photographs, with some of the photos taking minutes to shoot and others taking much longer. He’s described the process as follows: ‘I pick out a location, and then I set up my tripod and I have a remote control that I press. Taking a picture can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour. Sometimes I get lucky and have lots of time to take a picture, but sometimes I have constraints and no time at all, for instance if the sunlight changes or the other people in the picture can’t stay.’

Caught mid-move, Mickael Jou acts as the focal point of each scenario, sometimes effortlessly suspended in flight, and other times performing skillful ballet moves while interacting with surrounding objects and the environment.

Jou cleverly manipulates his body in a way that makes it look like he is attached to an invisible support system. With careful control over perfectly-pointed toes and elegantly-outstretched arms, his series of self-portraits represent the ultimate possibilities of this genre.

Mickael Jou’s 365 self-portrait project continues

By Emily Brown