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New Firehouse exhibit captures emotion through dance

For Bush, photography isn’t just a hobby; it’s a profound means of expressing her innermost feelings.
"Make believe"

Marie Bush, a retired physician and seasoned photographer hailing from Lafayette has an upcoming exhibition at The Firehouse Art Center titled “Secret of the Soul,” where she delves into the intricacies of movement through the lens of her camera, specifically focusing on the dynamic world of dance.

“My family gave me a camera for Christmas when I was eight years old. That’s what sparked my interest,” Bush said. “My aunt was interested in photography; she always had a camera, so I’ve always had one … With photography, I get to express my feelings about things. It’s a way for me to get outdoors and photograph what I enjoy.”

For Bush, photography isn’t just a hobby; it’s a profound means of expressing her innermost feelings and connecting with the world around her. Her primary focus has often been nature, a subject that allows her to immerse herself and capture the essence of what she loves.

However, her upcoming exhibition takes a different turn as she unveils her collection of dance photographs. In “Secret of the Soul,” Bush employs creative techniques, particularly utilizing slow shutter speeds to encapsulate the fluidity and emotion inherent in dance movements.

“Dancing is one of my passions. It’s an expression of who we are, an expression of our soul,” Bush said. “Capturing images of dance is a way of exploring another way of expressing who I am.”

Bush takes numerous shots to try and achieve the desired result, particularly when photographing subjects in motion. The challenge lies in distilling the raw emotion and energy of dance into a still image. Bush meticulously selects images that best convey the emotions she associates with dance — a feeling of freedom.

“The images in ‘Secret of the Soul’ are an expression of our unconscious mind,” Bush revealed. “They reflect a dream-like feeling, a sense of freedom that I experience when dancing — a spirit that comes from my soul.”

As a retired physician, Bush has devoted over two decades to honing her photography skills and exhibiting her work. Now, with more time to dedicate to her craft post-retirement, she’s delving deeper into various facets of photography, including this dance exhibit.

“It was one night a week where I could just let go and not worry about anything,” Bush reflected. “It’s very social for me. I have a whole group of friends that I hang out with. It’s just fun.”

Her involvement in ballroom dancing goes beyond mere hobby; it serves as a sanctuary — a space where she can immerse herself in the moment, shedding the responsibilities and stresses of life.

“It’s about capturing that feeling, that abstract emotion within the frame … It’s about trying to capture who they are, their essence,” Bush expressed. “If I know the person, I’m more likely to get them to relax and capture their essence.”

The intricate interplay between the technical and emotional aspects of photography, akin to the synergy between leading and following in dance, exemplifies Bush’s adeptness at balancing the creative process. The parallels between her former profession as a physician and her artistic endeavors are evident.

“You have to use both sides of your brain,” Bush said. “I love science, I love nature and science … I’m really good at organizing chaos. That’s what I had to do at work a lot, where things were just chaotic.” 

The ability to synthesize information, make assessments and formulate plans — a skill she honed in the medical field — resonates in her approach to photography, where she integrates these various elements to express her artistic vision.

Discussing her photography, especially her images capturing dance, Bush unveiled the emotional elements woven into her compositions. She reflected on the significance of the color pink, describing its passionate essence within a spinning woman’s dress next to two black fixed legs of a man. This hue juxtaposition intensifies the fervent motion blur, contributing to a striking visual story.

“Secret of the Soul” is set to open on Friday, January 12 upstairs at the Firehouse Art Center, offering a glimpse into the world of dance as seen through Bush’s photographs.