In conversation with dancer and photographer Milan Nowoitnick Kampfer

Learn more about the new photos on our website and the artist behind the camera.

In the course of the relaunch of the new website, the Federal Association for Dance in Germany (Dachverband Tanz Deutschland)  has collaborated for the first time with the dancer and photographer Milan Nowoitnick Kampfer. Here is a little insight into the photo shoot!

Dear Milan, you are a full-time dancer - since 2017 with the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. When did photography come along and since when have you also been professionally active in this field?

I can't say exactly anymore, but I think I probably started to get more intensively involved with photography in 2014. At that time I had a job in Switzerland and started with landscape photography, because I always liked the little feeling of adventure during outdoor excursions in the surroundings. Hiking somewhere with a tent and waiting for a moment and capturing it in a picture: a certain light mood, for example. Then I ended up in the Pina Bausch ensemble and suddenly, when I wasn't on stage myself, I had the opportunity to take photos of the performances. It is a great privilege for me to be able to photograph my colleagues. Fortunately, they liked my pictures too (laughs) and the theater started to use the pictures, and that's how the whole thing got started. Meanwhile, I start my own small works with friends and colleagues.

The photos for Dachverband Tanz Deutschland were mainly taken in two shoots with the dancers Christopher Tandy, Emma Barrowman, Nayoung Kim, Naomi Brito and Leonor Aguiar. What inspires you and how do you work with the dancers?

I assume a collaborative nature to all the work. I come to a shoot with visuall ideas or with suggestions for materials I want to play with, but I also let the dancers create it in the moment at the spot. I describe an idea of a movement or dynamic, but then I'm the observer and see what the dancers like to try out and create. It's a very interactive process. You can see that very well in the pictures that were created for the Dachverband Tanz, in the moments where, for example, someone throws something (color powder) or experiments with water. That's when I let go and focus at intuitively capturing what's happening and stop thinking about what "should" happen or how it might look in the picture. It is a lot of fun. The dancers can always bring in their own ideas.

In some of the images from the "Blue Series" you experimented with water in a kind of glass box in the foyer of the old drama theater "Schauspielhaus" in Wuppertal. Is water a difficult detail in dance photography? What are special challenges for you?

Quite the opposite. There is immediately a certain visible dynamic and a play with movement in this element. That makes it rather easier. It's more difficult to work with earth, powder or certain fabrics. Water is always great. Light is the biggest challenge. Especially when you have to rely on natural light. It just takes a lot of experience.

Is there a future project that you would like to reveal?

Nothing quite concrete yet, but I would definitely like to deal more with the theme of the body in the landscape.

The interview was conducted by Corinna Weber.




Milan Kampfer and a dancer Backstage

Photographer Milan Nowoitnick Kampfer working with the dancer Nayoung Kim | © Christopher Tandy

Milan Kamfer and dancers in a studio

At the shooting (from left to right): Emma Barrowman, Christopher Tandy, Milan Nowoitnick Kamper und Naomi Brito. | © Nayoung Kim

Milan Kampfer with a dancer during the shooting

Milan Nowoitnick Kampfer during the shooting with the dancer Naomi Brito | © Nayoung Kim