From photographers to sculptors and painters, visionaries are looking at the fairways through a different lens. One such artist is photographer Christine Merchant, who was amazed by the similarities between dance and golf and began pairing ballerinas with golfers on the green. The stunning results of her visual creations were featured on public display in Augusta, GA during the week of the 2018 Masters Tournament.
“More and more artists are turning to the golf course for creative inspiration.”
Augusta Georgia Regional Airport’s Art Committee selected Christine Merchent’s Ballerinas on the Green – a fine art photography series of classical ballet themes on a golf course – to welcome travelers to the area, from April through June, coinciding with the 2018 Masters Tournament, April 2 – 8. “The Augusta Regional Airport is thrilled to have Mrs. Merchent’s work on display during Masters Week. Her portrait style will not only attract attention from golf fans but the dance community as well. The Airport Art Committee thought the Airport would be the perfect venue to highlight her creative talent,” said Lauren Smith, spokesperson for the Augusta Regional Airport.
“Christine Merchent’s photographs capture the essence and spirit of two quite different pursuits, the art of ballet and the game of golf.”
– Ron Kern, Golf Course Architect, Purgatory Golf Club
“The golf course is my studio. Replacing golfers with ballerinas makes it a fantasy. But because every other element in the art is so true to the game, it feels like it could happen. The project as a whole also highlighted two very different junior sports,” she explained.
Merchent is the first artist to approach pairing ballerinas and golfers together on a golf course in fine art photography. She studied over 21,000 junior golf images to develop the stories that she brought to life with the project. The body of work features Noblesville High School golfers and local ballerinas all shot at Indiana’s Purgatory Golf Club, which she and her husband own.
“The poses she caught of the golfers and dancers are beautiful and the colors spectacular,” said Indiana PGA Executive Director, Mike David, one of the first to view the artwork. “But I was overwhelmed by the similarities between dance and golf. At first, I was taken aback by how two opposite sports are on the same playing field. But the more you look, the more you see the grace and beauty and how the two naturally tie together. You have a whole new understanding and appreciation of both sports. It does almost seem natural, having the two together.”
Ron Kern, Golf Course Architect of Purgatory Golf Club, who is also a photographer, said, “Christine Merchent’s photographs capture the essence and spirit of two quite different pursuits, the art of ballet and the game of golf. Merchent’s body of work blends ballet and golf into a beautiful tandem through intelligent visualization and sympathetic and creative use of light.”
Merchent was named the 2017 Nickel Plate Arts Artist of the Year and was also juried into the prestigious 2017 Center Santa Fe Review. In 2014, Merchent was named as a Top Ten Photographer in Indiana and in 2015, she was recognized by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) International Photographic Competition (IPC).