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Viktoria’s Secret

To launch a website for a new product line of hoops, we wanted photos that would differentiate us from other vendors. We decided to go for imaging which would have an unmistakable New York City look. What better place than a rooftop with views of water tanks, ventilators, high-rise buildings, and the Empire State Building? Or the waterfront in Brooklyn with the Brooklyn Bridge as backdrop?
Of course, we needed a hooper who not only had the skills but also was not afraid of heights. We happened to know just the person.

Meet Viktoria Shvartsman, professional contortionist, acrobat, aerialist, hand balancer, juggler, and hooper. When I asked prior to the shoot, just as a formality, if she was afraid of heights, she laughed and said, “Absolutely not.” Perfect, because we wanted precarious looking stunts. The afternoon photoshoot was split between the rooftop and Brooklyn waterfront in the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Viktoria is part of the fifth generation of a circus performing family that dates back to 1912 in Russia. Her older sister Gena and younger sister Maria are also performers, as well as her father and mother. Here is a photo from 2002 of the entire family, including her mother, father, and myself in my studio. If you would like to see a performance montage of her act, you can find it here. (Update 1/4/12: This video has been taken down.)

Viktoria has acted and modeled. She has been in two international circus competitions, including the world circus competition in Italy and Premier Rampe in Monte Carlo. She has been in various TV shows, including ABC Family’s “Switched,” and has performed in numerous venues: Busch Gardens Tampa, Hannaford, Cirque Du Joir, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Circus Hamid, Circus Circus, Grand Tunica, and Mohegan Sun.

I have known her since she was a young girl. Like her two sisters, she is extremely pleasant and personable. Very talented and confident yet humble. And now you know Viktoria’s secret :)

NOTE: The story of my business can be found in Signature and Juggle This. The newly launched hooping website can be found here.

Related Postings:  Artiste Extraordinaire, Spinning, Fire and Drums, Spiegelworld, Titans

10 Responses to Viktoria’s Secret

  1. The whole think is impressive: Victoria, her resume and the Hooping website! Bravo.
    P.S.The performance montage link is missing… I would love to see it lol

  2. This is great! I love hoop dancing! In fact I am going to a class to night- but most people give me a funny look when I tell them I hoop dance. Very cool pictures :) .

  3. Brian Dubé says:

    Thérèse – thanks and I added a youtube link.
    Lorelai – come visit us if you are in NYC.

  4. what a great great pics!!!

  5. btw. I have recently seen coens’ movie about creator of hoops (starred with tim robbins) what a coincidence:)

  6. you take a lot of interesting photos. i live in nyc, recently purchased a dslr from adorama and am enjoying taking photos of our city. if you photographer something that you want to display in your home where would you recommend getting large prints done – say 16″ X 16″ or larger?

  7. Brian Dubé says:

    kawa – thanks very much.

    lou – did you check out Adorama’s photo printing service? I have done a little printing there and was happy. If you are talking very high quality art prints, there are other sources.

  8. Helen Oster says:

    When someone sets up a new account with AdoramaPix (which is FREE!) they get 25 free prints. Many people use these free 4x6s to order some prints on all the different paper types. We usually recommend that you print something that you have already seen in print, that way you can compare. The only paper type we don’t offer in a 4×6 size is the Silk, but if you’d like to email me with your mailing address, I can pass it along and see that you get some samples.


    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera customer Service Ambassador


  9. Most interesting photos.

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