Don’s tips & tricks
This is the second half of the interview with Don Curry.
Don’t miss the first half >> Don Curry Interview – Part 1
Are some pole elements more photogenic than the others? Or is just the angle of photography that is important?
When I shoot, I focus on getting the right angle. I’ll always ask a girl to tell me the trick she is going to do. I know that every country, every town has a different name for these tricks, but as a photographer, I know the names, so I know what angle to anticipate.
Do you have some tricks how to take a nice picture by ourselves?
The only recommendation I can tell to people who are taking pictures of themselves is that the good way is to just videotape themselves and avoid this problem. Then watch it and screenshot the right angle. I know a lot of people do that. They’ll videotape their move, and they’ll slow it down, they’ll watch it, got the right angle, take a screenshot of it, and there’s your shot.
Judging by your photos, you’re totally familiar with pole elements, their names and you are not a pole dancer. Was that difficult for you?
At the very beginning of my pole photography journey, I was fascinated that every trick had a name to it. So I just started remembering the names. I remember the very first shoot I did, over and over again girls were saying “butterfly.” Then I noticed what angle to shoot it. Or … you never forget the “jade“ the first time you see it, right?
So these things helped me learn quicker what to anticipate at the next photoshoot. Because when you yell out a name, for me as a pole photographer, the first thing I’m thinking is “Okay, I’m going to shoot it at this angle.”
When I saw pole dance for the first time, to me it was this beautiful geometry. I saw the angles, I saw the lines, what to look for. No crotch shots or something like that. I think a lot of girls, especially at the beginning, began to appreciate that I was trying to get the right angle. I’m very, very quick now and the girls appreciate that.
But every shot I take, I’ll show it to the girl and I’ll ask her how she likes it. So when you’re shooting show them what you did. It’s a collaboration.
Do you or your pole clients prefer more clean photos with white backgrounds or more with abstract backgrounds for you to tell a story?
At the very start, I needed a style, that I can go to each studio and have that same look. And for me, the white is the best setup because the white and the soft light is very complementary to the skin. It doesn’t matter if you’re big, small, muscular, not muscular – it’s just less contrast and it’s just a softer quality.
When shooting on a white background I can do a lot of variations of that same picture. If that pose or trick was really good, I can come up with eight different variations. I can take out the white and add a city background. I don’t do it a lot, but you can do more effects dealing with white as opposed to shooting on a background that’s busy or something like that. In the beginning, I went through different styles, but soon enough I discovered my own style.
When they see my work on Facebook or Instagram, they know exactly what they’re going to get when they sign up for a photoshoot. There’s a little deviation, but the girls know exactly what they’re going to get, and that’s what I want to give them.
And the girls like that…
Yes, and they prefer the simple white. My photo philosophy is: “it’s all about the subject”. A good photographer can take any subject into a simple background and make that subject come alive. I think that’s what the girls see, and that’s what they want.
True, sometimes it’s nice to go outdoors – like I just shot in Paris with Leigh Ann Reilly. It’s sometimes nice to have busy backgrounds, but it’s all about the subject.
Once you said that your wish is to take a picture of Misty Copeland, who is now quite a celebrity. Did your wish come true?
No, I’ve never reached out to her. But yeah, she’s still one of my dreams to shoot, someone outside of pole. She’s amazing. Talented. Taking pictures of her would be an honor.
What are your plans for the future of pole photography? Do you have any plans or wishes?
No plans. Starting next year, I just want to visit more countries that I haven’t visited before. Thankfully there’s a lot of countries wanting me to come … Hong Kong, Singapore … Countries like that I haven’t been to, I want to go. Just kind of expand. As an artist, you’ve got to keep evolving and changing and growing.
And I want to spend more time in Italy. I love it here. This is one of my favorite countries. I’ve already decided that next year I want to spend one month in Italy.
Also, Italy is very inspiring.
Yes, it is, it is. I’ve always enjoyed Italians and Italian culture. I vacation here with my kids. And the people are really very warm. Very, very warm compared to other countries.
And the last question, for the inspiration: what is your message? What would you say, something that nobody has asked you before?
If I was talking to myself, I would tell myself to love yourself first. I remind myself every day to love yourself first because if you love yourself first, you can love someone else. That applies to pole dancing, that applies to relationships. It’s something like a younger man, I didn’t know. Once I realized, love yourself, realize your faults, realize your strengths – try to love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, go out and chase your dreams.
I know it sounds corny, but you’ve got to love yourself first before you can love someone else, or love another woman or love another man or really love your kids. When you have that, I think people around you are affected by that, and without even saying a word, they can feel it.
And I think it shows in my photography, because I love photography, but then when I discovered pole dance, I was like “Wow, I love what I do.” I go to bed at night thinking “Thank God,” I wake up every morning and I say “Thank you.” I think people around me see it and they feel it.
So “love yourself.”
Love yourself first.
And these are impressions of Polona about her cooperation
with Don Curry:
Don Curry is the legendary photographer in pole dance industry. I have been looking forward to this shooting since the very first day I saw the announcement of his arrival to the not so far away city of Udine. What is a 2 hours drive in comparison to eternity, taken into a frame of his photograph?
The experience itself was unique. He has a very special charisma, I could feel it from the minute he greeted me and smiled. He catches the perfect shot and makes the correct angle with only just a few flashes of the camera. It made me wonder how, but he actually makes it happen. Not just that, during the shooting, he encouraged me to straighten those legs, to pull a little bit more and to set myself into a position with the very last atom of my energy. Not to say he was extremely nice and with one word, he made me feel flawless.
Unforgettable experience. I recommend it to every pole dancer, who wants to be a star for one day!
Polona G., pole dance instructor