This photo series captures the minutiae of artist Tariq Disu in motion

Photographer Will Marsden’s series of dynamic stills build a detailed picture of dance

In our new short film created in collaboration with Tariq Disu titled ‘Process of a Polymath: An Introduction to Strawberry Head‘, we explore the elements that lie at the heart of the South London musician’s creative practice: dance, music and verse. To accompany the piece, photographer Will Marsden joined us on set to capture Disu’s choreography with a dynamic series documenting the minutiae of the artist’s body in motion. 

Marsden, of Academy Films, had originally planned to capture posed movements from Disu’s choreography sequence. Days before the shoot, he revised that idea, focusing instead on documenting the artist in motion. “Capturing the whole movement seemed more true to the movement Tariq wanted to express,” the photographer says. “It needed to be as organic as possible.”

Tariq interested me. His music is honest and acute. Photographing people is very much about the relationship between the sitter and the photographer

Will Marsden

To represent the movement in an honest way Marsden shot hundreds of bursts of Disu working through his choreography. These moments, captured in black and white and placed onto grids by art director Alex Venndt, make a tapestry of dancing figures. Together, they build a detailed picture of dance. For Marsden, whose work often comes through a documentary-style lens, the collaborative nature of the shoot was what lay at its heart. “It was about the dialogue between me and Tariq,” he says. “We would both review each burst of stills and focus on certain movements that created a look and feel that we both felt was right.” 

Looking again at the black and white images, the energy from them is palpable. The photographer attributes that energy to the freedom and space that Disu was given to express himself naturally on set. “Tariq interested me. His music is honest and acute. Photographing people is very much about the relationship between the sitter and the photographer,” he explains. “As much as you are creating a frame for them to move in, you need to create a space for them to project themselves too.”