By Beth Reynolds
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Forever Changed – The Palladium Series
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Through March 23
Morean Arts Center
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NEA/Pinellas Recovers Grant Update
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Tom Kramer is a man who fell in love with dance through falling in love with Paula, his wife of more than 60 years. First through her eyes and then through his own eyes, his appreciation and deep understanding of human movement is one of the richest I have seen from anybody who is not an actual dancer.
Tom came to me almost a year ago with a collaborative idea to spread his love of dance. He wanted to have multiple exhibitions during the Beacon Dance Festival and host educational photo seminars.
COVID took a toll on photographers like us who work with people and especially Tom since he is so involved with dance. At the first moment that he was allowed, he gathered up the dancers who were also in a deep desire to come together and they created these alluring images.
Dance photography is truly collaborative artwork. It is based on trust and an understanding of each other’s mediums. Without trust there will be no authentic photographs and no authentic movement from the dancers. Knowing the peak moment of tension and being able to capture it can be very difficult. Both artists must be in sync.
Tom was perfectly giddy when talking about his new ideas with me. You could see a light coming from his heart when he spoke about the concepts and the dancers he wanted to work with. When we would meet to look over and cull his pictures, he would get so emotional when looking at how resplendent the shapes and figures and expressions were that he was able to document. Two art forms coming together in a fraction of a second.
Both the exhibition on view right now at the Morean Art Center and the exhibition opening February 25 at the Leepa-Rattner Museum are very different but pure Tom. You need to visit both shows because they confirm the endless creativity that Tom had and the endless creativity of the talented dancers we have in our area.
We are all still hurting from the sudden loss of Tom and no one more than his beautiful and talented wife Paula. She is the one who gathered us all up and asked if we could still make these exhibitions happen and we all said yes without hesitation. It was strange and painful to look through Tom’s computer without him there but I could hear his voice in my head as we pulled images to print.
I started photographing dance in college because my friends who were dance majors needed documentation of their choreography and that’s where I learned about truly collaborative art. When I met Tom and Paula at the Morean so many years ago I was excited to have somebody else who understood this process.
Tom taught me so much and I adored teaching with him. His career is truly a history of dance and his gift lives on forever.
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