James Welling
Title: Choreograph 8680
Medium: Inkjet on rag paper. 2015

As a college student, photographer James Welling studied dance and even performed. When he transferred in 1971 to the recently formed California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, he decided to choose between dance and visual arts and selected the latter. But his interest in dance never left him. In 2014, he began a series called Choreograph, of which this image is one. In them, he combines and layers three separate photographs of dancers, buildings and interior spaces. As a final step, he runs the images through different color channels in Photoshop.

The dancers depicted in this work are from Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, a company that performed in UCLA’s Royce Hall in 2015.

Welling’s specific inspiration as a dance photographer is Barbara Morgan, a suite of whose work may be seen on the second level of this building. Morgan was one of the first students to enroll at UCLA’s Westwood campus in 1929. Her famous photo of Martha Graham called Letter to the World (“Kick”) from 1940, ranks among the most famous dance photographs ever taken.