In her immaculate tutu, tiara, pearl earrings and dance shoes, the young ballerina poses for the camera on a grimy platform next to the dredging rig. In en pointe step, she balances herself on the tips of her toes, as muck-covered men stand around her, grinning.
Laguna Beach photographer Rob Gage took this picture of starkly contrasting subjects last October in Newport Harbor.
"What I wanted to express was rough and smooth, hard and soft," Gage said.
The photo is one of three photographs of the ballerina in the company of dredging crew workers, which Gage is showing as part of his photographic exhibit at the 2012 Festival of Arts, now underway in Laguna Beach.
According to Gage, a veteran advertising photographer, the ballerina in the photo was a real-life ballet dancer, Katie Miltimore of Huntington Beach, whose image he didn't photograph separately then superimpose onto the picture through the magic of Photoshop. Gage acknowledged that he did use Photoshop to touch up elements of the photo and bring out the luminosity of the girl's skin.