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About the Photographer
American, b. 1955
William Frederking began his career with a series of portraits of couples and a contemplative series of photographs documenting the scattered evidence of daily life in his apartment. In the early 1990s he began photographing dancers, an ongoing body of work for which he is best known. MoCP holds a substantial collection of Frederking's dance photographs, featuring collaborators such as Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Company and including a set of 100 prints acquired from the artist in 1998.
Rather than documenting performances, Frederking photographs the dancers in a controlled studio setting. Typically lit from above and behind, his photographs freeze groups of dancers in motion, yielding crisp images with a pronounced sense of dynamism, formal tension, and intensity. Some of Frederking's photographs register the dancer's context as they interact with the space--say, a door frame or the wall--or with simple furnishings, such as a dining table. More commonly Frederking portrays the dancers in a minimal space, directing attention to their bodies, or he sets them off against a flat white background, making them appear to float as if freed from the restrictions of gravity.
William Frederking earned a BA in English at the University of Notre Dame (1977) and an MFA in Photography at the University of Illinois, Chicago (1983). He has been an instructor at Columbia College Chicago since 1983.