The New Year is upon us, the celebratory holiday decorations are ready to be stored away for another year, and Christmas and Hanukkah gifts are now being put to good use. Except... what's that one thing you forgot? A 2013 calendar! Once a standard and modest-looking seasonal gift from gas stations and insurance companies, visually appealing calendars for specific tastes and audiences really took off in the 70's, with a plethora of cute kitty photos, Tolkien art from the Brothers Hildebrandt, scenic landscapes, and just about any other image imaginable. There's often a calendar on your bulletin board at work, another in the kitchen at home, possibly another in a study, playroom, workshop or garage. Local Columbia photographer Jason Ayer has now joined the mix, with the perfect gift for the ballerina or dance enthusiast in your life (even if that happens to be you.)
Ayer's calendar is the first product from his Palmetto Pointe Project; his images "explore South Carolina through the eyes, and feet, of dancers," caught on film and on site at scenic landmarks, historic venues, and locales showcasing our state's natural beauty. Ayer is a long-time friend of Jasper, having done countless photo shoots and publicity images for the USC Dance Program, as well as for the Coquettes, and the Cheerleading, Equestrian and Cross Country teams. (His show last year at Cool Beans was profiled here.) His interest in dance goes all the way back to the late 80's, when, full disclosure, he and I were roommates, and did shows together at Town Theatre, including musicals like 42nd St., Gypsy and My Fair Lady. Vaguely suggested by NYC's "Ballerina Project" (to which Ayer was introduced by ballerina Kathryn Miles) the Palmetto Pointe Project takes Columbia dancers out of the studio and into striking locations that complement the creativity of both model and photographer. Each dancer collaborates with Ayer on the mood and theme of the image, with the individual performer's personality influencing much of the look and feel. The dancers also share in the profits of any images sold in which they appear.
Ayer notes that the calendar's dimensions are 8.5"x 11", and that the individual images are "clean" artwork, so "at the end of the year, you can take it apart and have 13 pieces of artwork for your wall!" Calendars are available at S&S Art Supply on Main Street, and online. More images and info about future projects can be found at the Palmetto Pointe Project Facebook Page.
~ August Krickel