Throughout his career, Leslieville resident Aleksandar Antonijevic has been the one attracting the attention of audience members.
With his inFORMants exhibit in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, he is now turning the focus on others.
Antonijevic made a name for himself as a ballet dancer, having trained at the National Ballet School in Novi Sad in the former Yugoslavia.
After moving to Canada, he joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1991 and became a principal dancer in 1995.
While he has long had a passion for photography, he is relatively new to the game in terms of having his work shown.
“I’ve been photographing since I was about 10, but I only started doing it more seriously about three-and-a-half years ago,” he said.
“I was 39 at the time and still dancing a full repertoire with the National Ballet of Canada, but I started to think about what interested me and what I would like to do after dance.”
Antonijevic knew he needed a career where he could express himself creatively, and when he took some snapshots of a dress rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty in Ottawa only to have those photos published the next day in the Ottawa Citizen, the path became clear.
“The camera felt right in my hand,” he said.
His background in dance has certainly helped his burgeoning photography career. Fittingly, his photos capture the human form and offer a sense of movement through the use of light and shadow.
“I think it has to do with the way we as dancers have trained our whole lives,” he said.
“When you’re training, you’re looking at yourself in the mirror, seeing these two-dimensional images and getting an appreciation for the imagery.”
While he has begun devoting more of his energy to photography, Antonijevic has remained active on the dance scene. He will be appearing in three performances in the coming months.
“It’s been challenging because at times, I’ve felt like I haven’t been able to commit full-time to dancing, but I love what I’m doing and I’ve been so lucky in my dance career with (a lack of) injuries, genetically with the kind of body I have and with a supportive artistic director in Karen Kain,” he said.
His work with CONTACT features portraits and images of the human form, for which Antonijevic has a keen eye.
“I have an obsession with the body and what it does and says,” he said.
The dancer/photographer has lived in the Leslieville area since 1998 and quickly grew to love the community.
“The area’s transformed a lot over the years, especially around the Queen and Broadview area with so many great shops and cafés that have opened up there,” he said.
inFORMants will be on display Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon until 6 p.m. from Thursday, May 2 through Thursday, May 30 at the Berenson Fine Art gallery, 212 Avenue Rd.