We had the good fortune of connecting with Jean Celeste Lubin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jean Celeste, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
My photography business really just flowed organically out of my life experiences. I had been a professional ballerina in New York and when I had to quit, due to injuries, I had a successful career as a photographic model in Paris. After moving to Los Angeles, getting married, and having children, I began to teach ballet at California Dance Theatre in Westlake Village . One of the studios there had magical light in the afternoon, and my beautiful students inspired me to start photographing them. That just naturally led to driving to the magnificent beach and mountain locations in Malibu for photo shoots. Soon, parents were hiring me to photograph their dancer at the beach. I was thrilled to be a part of creating keepsake memories for families. Social media was just taking off, and I initially shied away from it, but one day after class several of my students grabbed my phone and put me on Instagram. I hesitated to use my last name, so they asked me my middle name…and Jean Celeste Photography was born. That has led to photographing professional dancers with the Los Angeles Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Boston Ballet, and Sarasota Ballet, as well as many pre-professional students. I am grateful to be a photographer for the Los Angeles Ballet. I have photographed dancers around the country, but, in terms of locations, the Malibu beaches are incomparable!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have a huge advantage in dance photography, because I am a dancer. I also learned so much about photography and lighting from working with legendary photographers in Paris. I would say what sets me apart is that I want the dancers to look truly gorgeous…like models…in breathtaking backgrounds. Having a dancer say, “Wow, I didn’t know I could look like that!” makes it all worthwhile. I never post a photo without the dancer’s approval. I also do studio shots, but I think the outdoor locations are my signature look. The lesson I have learned along the way is to expect the unexpected, stay positive, and to go with the flow. Even in the same location, no two photo shoots are ever the same. The constantly changing challenges of wind, fog, sun, and tide always keep us on our toes, so to speak.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite place in Los Angeles is Sunset Restaurant in Malibu, maybe because the beach is so dear to my heart. Taking a stroll down to Point Dume, and then watching the sunset never gets old. The food and service at the restaurant is also great. My second favorite place is any cliff looking over the ocean!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would say that (besides all of my ballet students and models) I dedicate this shoutout to Kim Maselli, the director of California Dance Theatre and Pacific Festival Ballet. Kim instantly embraced my photography and displayed my work on her school and company website, as well as in magazine advertising. She also collaberated with me on several shoots that led to many magazine covers, including Malibu Coast and Conejo Valley magazine. Our recent shoot with New York City Ballet soloist, Indiana Woodward, is a great example. These magazines have graciously promoted Pacific Ballet’s Nutcracker each year with a December cover…often with the Pacific Ocean as a sensational backdrop! I also want to thank all the amazing dancers of the Los Angeles Ballet, who continue to inspire me! But most of all, I would like to thank God for creating the glory that is Malibu!
Facebook: Jean Celeste Photography
Photo of dancer and me standing socially distanced on beach – credit: Alison Atalya Barone All 8 dancing images – photo credit: Jean Celeste Photography