Suzi Bird: The Bristol Ballerina project

By October 23, 2015


Photo credit: Suzi Bird

Photo credit: Suzi Bird

Having recently graduated from The University of South Wales, I have started my career as a professional photographer. Throughout my time at university, I was fuelled by my passion for dance to develop a career as a dance photographer. Having danced from the age of three, it seemed almost natural to combine two very inspirational elements within my life. My understanding of the dancer’s movements, and ability to predict when the dancer reaches the climax of their movement, means that I am able to capture dancers at the perfect moment, freezing their movements in time and preserving an otherwise fleeting moment.


I run my dance photography business from, and offer professional photographic shoots to dancers and actors alike for the portfolios. I also like to continue my own personal line of work at the same time. Currently, I am undergoing a project entitled ‘The Bristol Ballerina’, in which I photograph dancers in and around Bristol.

Having always lived just outside of Bristol in Nailsea, the city has not only been a big part of my childhood, but it has remained a place to call home despite studying away in South Wales for three years. There are so many beautiful photographs of Bristol that depict the creative, lively city beautifully. However, I felt that there was a lack of images that showed people artistically expressing life within the thriving city. Therefore, ‘The Bristol Ballerina’ project was born. The project has currently been running for about six months, and combines landscape and dance together to create a narrative that compliments the city.

From wide-open spaces to the smaller details of urban landscape, the images within this project show the vast versatility of the city. From Stokes Croft to Ashton Court, the location for each image is chosen specifically to highlight each area’s contribution to the city, showing how many different parts can make up one whole. Not only does the project highlight the visual versatility of Bristol, it is also a nod towards the variety of culture, language, and style that the city is famous for.


In order to keep the images authentic, I cast local classical dancers for the project, many of which I know through my local dance school, the Adele Stitch School of Dance. Along with my knowledge of dance and movement, the dancers’ abilities ensure that an effective image is captured within only a few takes. Throughout my life I have always been a keen sewer, and I make the majority of skirts that you see in my work. By using fabrics that can be manipulated easily, I am able to create an endless amount of different shapes and silhouettes that extend from the dancers bodies. These skirts not only accentuate the dancers’ movements, but also show the effect that each movement has on the area around them. This shows the way in which a person’s actions have a direct effect on their environment, even if it can’t always be seen.

In addition to dance photography, I also run a business called ‘Sunlight Photography’ based in Nailsea, which offers professional wedding, portrait, and baby photography in Bristol and the South West. In addition to shooting dancers, I absolutely love photographing and interacting with people. It’s always such a pleasure to capture images that they love and to see how happy they are with the finished product. By also combining my love of dance into this side of the business, I offer unique portraits of younger dancers that allow them to express their interests, creating fun and relevant portraits for their families to keep as a record of their childhood. Please visit for more details and to view my portfolio.

The Bristol Ballerina is an on-going project, with new images being shot weekly. For a full collection of images please visit If you are a dancer and are interested in becoming part of this project, please contact me at [email protected].