German-born American photographer Arnold Genthe is considered as the pioneer of dance photography, due to his early documentation modern dancers. "The Book of the Dance" is a long-forgotten archive of portraits.
The book is considered as the first true photobook dedicate to dance. Through long exposure, Genthe created a majestic series featuring well-known dancers such as Anna Pavlova, Isadora Duncan, and Ruth St. Denis.
Genthe was inspired to do this due to "The Mother of Modern Dance" Isadora Duncan's statement: “the free spirit, who will inhabit the body of the new woman; more glorious than any woman that has yet been…the highest intelligence in the freest body.”
Genthe utilized this statement to embed it in his signature. To capture dancers "in the free movement of the dance", as he would put it. He wanted to create images that suggest both the proceeding and the following movements, photos that suggest motion. To be fluent, dynamic, and natural.
Images are from the public domain.