Friday, December 30, 2011

2011- A Whirlwind for Jordan Matter Photography

It's been a whirlwind year. My mother, Paula Feiten, and my good friend, Geoff Legg, died within three months of each other. My wife and I watched our children Salish and Hudson, grow bigger, wiser, and more beautiful. And my career exploded in ways I never imagined possible. As the exciting and tiring year draws to a close, I feel incredibly fortunate and alive. I thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Highlights from 2011:

Dancers Among Us Coming to a Bookstore Near You

I am collaborating with Workman Publishing for a national book release of Dancers Among Us, tentatively scheduled for Spring 2013. For a chance to be included in the book, see where I am traveling in the U.S. next and recommend dancers for the project by visiting my BRAND NEW WEBSITE:

Alan Cumming, Patti LaBelle, and Angels

This year Gabrille's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research released the celebrity portraits I took of, among others, Patti LaBelle and Alan Cumming. The shoot was surreal. Take a look here.

25 Beautiful Women and 2 Frantic Photographers- Photographing an Olympic Calendar in One Day

Partner Jeremy Saladyga and I had one day to capture action and portrait shots of the US Women's Rowing Team for their 2012 Olympic calendar- truly an Olympic task in itself. Read more on the exciting day here, and to preview and purchase the calendar please visit:

Paul Taylor Dance Company 2012 Moving! Campaign

What an amazing collaboration with such amazing dancers. Take a look at the finished product.

Dancers Among Us Inspires New iPhone App

Carbone Smolan Agency (CSA) announces Canon Idea Mine, soon to be released. Read more here.

Dancers Among Us in the Press

Slate Magazine, Stated Magazine published fantastic articles on Dancers Among Us, and ZDF German Television featured a segment of a day of shooting Dancers Among Us and a second segment on shooting headshots.

$3,100 Raised for Charity

Dancers Among Us publisher prints were sold for charity this holiday season. I matched 100% of the proceeds raised, and $1,550 will go to both Helen Keller International and The Against Malaria Foundation. Thank you for your generosity!

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Greatest Six Years Of My Life! Happy Birthday, My Sweet Boy

My beautiful son Hudson turns six-years-old today. It's truly mind-blowing how quickly he went from this...

to this...

I never craved children. I wasn't against the idea, just indifferent. Like many men I've spoken with, I felt like I had forever. No rush. I would come to parenthood when I was good and ready, after I had achieved my dreams. I focused on my professional ambitions, and parenthood would just have to wait.

This attitude did not change as I saw my wife's belly swell. It did not change as we packed for our final trip to the hospital (five minutes before we left, I completed the first draft of my book, "Uncovered"). It did not change as her labor intensified and the inevitable was upon me. I watched from a distance, oddly disconnected from reality.

Then he appeared. I looked at his perfect face and I was ready to die for him. The shift happened immediately. I couldn't imagine life without him.

I've known him for six years now, and my initial emotional reaction has deepened into a new perspective about life. I am forever changed, and I don't even recognize the man I was six-years-and-a-day ago. The function of my ambition has shifted, from a selfish pursuit of success to an example for my children. My heart has swelled with each passing year.

Hudson, I am intensely proud of the boy you are, and I'm excited to see the man you become (but no rush- take your time growing up). I do have one selfish wish on your birthday- that I have as positive an impact on your life as you've had on mine.

Thank you, Hudson. I love you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why I Hate the Paul Taylor Dance Company

Hanging out with dancers is never great for the ego, but hanging out with ten dancers from Paul Taylor Dance Company is downright devastating. This summer I spent four days shooting PTDC's 2012 campaign, "Moving!" as they move to the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for their upcoming season. Between all of them I think they have a total of 2% body fat.

When I get sick of looking at them and need a pick-me-up, I play my photography card. Sure, they can do unimaginable things with their bodies, they travel the world creating art for sold-out audiences, and they all look like models, BUT I can take better photos.


Then Sean Patrick Mahoney and Francisco Graciano shattered that illusion as well. First, they did some crazy s#@t in front of the camera-

Sean Patrick Mahoney

Francisco Graciano

Then they grabbed their cameras and casually took some awesome behind-the-scenes photos-

Francisco Graciano

Sean Patrick Mahoney

Oh, and their personal work is beautiful as well-

Sean Patrick Mahoney

Francisco Graciano

So maybe I can't play the photography card... but I CAN play the age card. I am definitely older than they are.


Wait a minute...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dancers Among Us Under Attack in Paradise

“Sure, Sarasota has America’s number one beach, but there’s so much more to do.”

For the past few months, I heard this commercial every twenty minutes while listening to my Elton John channel on Pandora. I guess Elton puts me in the Florida demographic.

America’s number one beach? That’s a pretty bold statement, and just too tempting to resist. Dancers Among Us could use a pretty beach location, and I could use a break from the northern winter.

On Sunday afternoon I arrived in Sarasota with my makeup artist and collaborator, Pamela Bob. I had booked a day of actor headshots with Florida State University/Asolo Rep students the next day, so I only had a few hours of light for Dancers Among Us.

I wanted to use members of Sarasota Ballet for the shoot, so for weeks I put on a full-court press to woo them- tweeting, facebooking, emailing, calling. The company’s Director, Iain Webb, finally responded to my stalking, but I was still unsure of my prospects as I arrived at the theatre.

Luckily for me, Iain was very enthusiastic and passionate. He greeted me with a warm smile and four beautiful dancers: Principles Danielle Brown, Octavio Martin and Ricardo Graziano, and Soloist Ricardo Rhodes. They were in the midst of a hellacious rehearsal schedule, but took a few precious hours off to collaborate with me.

As rain threatened, we piled into our cars and sped south towards the famous Siesta Beach. I immediately saw the appeal. The white sand feels like talcum powder, and the ocean is turquoise blue.

And there are seagulls. Lots of them.

Feeding the seagulls was an obvious scenario. My initial thought was a jump to mimic the flying motion of the birds, but Danielle suggested a lift instead. Much better idea! We practiced for a few minutes, keeping one eye on the impending storm.

The approaching rain was a blessing in disguise. It provided me with beautiful light and a dramatic background. Had it been sunny, the bright white sand would have washed out the seagulls.

There was no time to waste, so we got a few rolls from concessions and jumped right in. We threw up a couple of crumbs and the birds went nuts. They descended on her and IT WAS CREEPY! Before Danielle could even fully extend her body, the seagulls attacked the bread and left her empty handed. At least they left her fingers intact.

We had four rolls, and I just kept shooting until we ran out of bread. Unable to control the situation in any way, I adopted a rapid-fire approach: shouting adjustments to the dancers while hoping the ravenous birds would not obstruct them. Or eat them.

I got several cool photos, but the final frame is my favorite. A seagull swooped in and ate out of Danielle’s hand just long enough for me to get the shot, then flew away with the last of our bread.

Pamela Bob recorded the entire experience, and it’s worth spending two minutes to see what this looked like in action. It’s truly surreal. Check the video below:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Help Two Charities & Receive Dancers Among Us Prints!

I have ten boxes full of 11x14 Dancers Among Us prints, over 100 photos, that I have used to show publishers as a case for creating a Dancers Among Us book. With a book deal with Workman Publishing now in place, I would love to give these special photos to you, and ask that you help support two great charities in return! 

100% of the proceeds will go to the following charities:
Against Malaria (helping prevent malaria by providing mosquito nets)
Helen Keller International (helping to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged)

Here's the kicker: I will match your contributions dollar for dollar!
Prints are available at a reduced cost to help generate as much interest as possible for these charities. So please spread the word!

Prints will be randomly selected from my favorite Dancers Among Us images. Thank you for your generosity!

CLICK HERE to donate to Against Malaria and Helen Keller International and receive Dancers Among Us prints!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bebe Neuwirth, I Want YOU for Dancers Among Us!

I'm on my knees, Bebe. Literally, I'm typing on my knees.

I'm sure I'm not the first man to fall before you, and I don't even know you, yet I'm certain I want to photograph you for my book. Hopefully you'll read this appeal and be intrigued.

I'm a NYC photographer, and I've been shooting dancers in everyday situations for over two years. The project is titled, "Dancers Among Us". It has been viewed millions of times on my website, and featured in blogs, newspapers, magazines and television segments around the world. I just finalized a contract with Workman Publishing for a Spring 2013 national book release. I'm traveling around the country photographing dancers for the book.

Recently someone asked me who I still want to photograph, and your name immediately came to mind. I understand you were a knockout host at the The Bessie Awards this year, so you may enjoy this "Dancers Among Us" photo of Jennifer Jones from last year's ceremony.

I'm sure you're a fantastic subject to photograph. I'm ready to hop on a plane and meet you anywhere. The folks at Workman have given me until March to finish shooting, so I'm yours anytime between now and then. Just say the word.

It's not a stretch to imagine you in this book. After all, this image of you in "Chicago"-

Is not a far cry from this photo of Parson's Dancer Eric Bourne in Westchester-

If you'd like to see the gallery, watch behind-the-scenes videos and read press clippings, please visit the project's website-

Feel free to contact me anytime. Here's my private email address. Please don't give it to anyone. I just use it for family, friends and celebrity crushes-

See you soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PRIZE UPDATE: Sweepstakes and First Photo Release of the Paul Taylor Dance Company 2012 Moving! Campaign

It is with great pleasure that I release the first of many exciting Dancers Among Us photos of the collaboration between Jordan Matter Photography and Paul Taylor Dance Company for their 2012 Moving! Campaign.

Enjoy this photo?... It can be yours! WIN a 11x14 print of this image of dancer Sean Patrick Mahoney by entering the sweepstakes today!

UPDATE as of December 7th: Paul Taylor Dance Company has just up-ed the ante to throw in a DVD of the Paul Taylor documentary "Dancemaker"! The contest is almost up, December 11th is around the corner!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Call for Florida Dancers for Dancers Among Us

Okay, Florida dancers. This is serious.

YOU have the opportunity to be in Dancers Among Us and its resulting best selling book of all time. The photo bellow was taken in Miami just a few weeks ago (hard to believe it was taken in November right?). Meet me THIS WEEKEND in Sarasota, December 11th and 12th, and rise to the challenge of equaling the awesome Natalie Brum.

Email me at Please share this opportunity with others!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Like" This Blog! Pretty Pleeeeaaassseee!

Before Thanksgiving, I posted four items on my Facebook fan page that received tons of likes, shares and comments- they were very successful posts. Three of them have since been removed, and I have no idea why.

Was it a hacker? A bug in the system? Or did the Facebook police find the content offensive in some way? I don't think I will ever know, but I have to admit, I feel a very bizarre sense of loss.

This unfortunate event got me thinking about the increasing influence of Facebook in our lives. Recently I photographed a midnight birthday party in Union Square, populated by people in their early twenties. Since I don't go to many 22nd birthday parties, I was particularly struck by one thing- at any given moment, half of them were Facebooking on their cell phones. Not just reading but actively posting about the party, complete with photos taken moments before.

The old saying, "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it fall?" needs a 21st Century update. "If a day goes by and you don't update your status, did that day happen?"

We are all victims of our humanity. We crave acceptance and reassurance. Facebook feeds on this impulse, and exploits it brilliantly. Anyone who posts on Facebook is exposing their human insecurity, needing to know how popular they are at that moment.

A young client of mine explained it this way, "If I post on someone's wall, they're much more likely to post on mine. I post on lots of walls. If I get ten 'Likes' and a few comments on one of my posts, it's successful and I feel good. If nobody 'Likes' it, I wonder what I did wrong."

No wonder Facebook is the #1 activity for high school students- it is high school. I was so glad to be finished with high school; I didn't know I'd be trapped there forever.

Please "Like" this blog on Facebook- If you're feeling generous, write a glowing comment as well. If you don't, did this blog even exist? And how will I get out of bed in the morning?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jordan Matter Photography and the Paul Taylor Dance Company 2012 Moving! Campaign

Stay tuned next week as I reveal the collaboration of Jordan Matter Photography and the Paul Taylor Dance Company 2012 Moving! Campaign.

The first of these Dancers Among Us images features this motorcycle. I had a fantastic time working with such high caliber Paul Taylor dancers- just imagine how much fun I had playing with this little prop!

Keep an eye out for exciting contests coming your way- details to be announced soon!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dancers Among Us Makes a Big Splash in Miami


I read the ominous sign next to the sprawling pool at the famous Fontainebleau Miami Beach. I looked around and saw security personnel everywhere, ready to pounce at any infraction. This was going to be a problem.

Seventeen-year-old dancer Annie Gaddis and her mother Jackie drove three hours from Fort Myers to participate in Dancers Among Us. She brought a bright pink bikini. I wanted to photograph her jumping into the pool. I didn't have another idea. It had to happen.

I decided to pull some strings- I called my new BFF Mary Barrett, VP of Operations at Fontainebleau. We spent the day before bonding during an intense corporate headshot marathon, which I documented in yesterday's blog "Shooting Corporate Headshots for Miami's Biggest Vice- The World Famous Fontainebleau Resort".

"What do you want? You must want something or you wouldn't be calling." Imagine this said with an Irish accent and a twinkle in her voice. True love.

"Pool access. I want a dancer to jump in the pool. Just a few times. We'll be very discrete."

"Done." She's not one for small talk.

My initial idea was to have Annie sunbathing over the water while holding a tanning reflector. I found a good perspective that incorporated two well-placed onlookers, and we tried it a few times.

The reflector wasn't working. I wanted her to be more engaged in an activity. What about reading? I looked around and struck gold- Miami Magazine (I love to identify the location whenever possible)! I handed her a plastic cup as well.

"You're drinking water and holding the magazine towards the camera so I can read it. Try to keep the magazine out of the water when you land so it stays dry. We might have to do this a few times."

Yes, just a few.

Wow, that actually looks really good. It couldn't be that easy, right? I decided to try a different perspective. I wanted her to be more featured, perhaps soaring in the blue sky. And I wanted more palm trees.

I love it! Unfortunately, the magazine keeps blocking her back foot. Annie suggests a different pose.

I love it more! That's a pose I've never used. Amazing. Almost perfect.

"The magazine needs to be turned just a little more towards the camera, and the cup should be closer to your bottom lip."

"Legs are perfect. Turn the magazine towards me. The cup is past your bottom lip now. Bring it back up."

"Legs are amazing, but you covered your face with the magazine, which could be kind of cool but probably not."

"Perfect cup placement, but the legs are turned slightly too far away from me. I don't like the separation. Plus the magazine is wet so it's folding over at the corner. Let's get a different issue."

"God it's so close. The magazine needs to be a hair turned towards me. Plus I like the first issue better. The 'Miami' is more clear. Love the dude in the shot though."

"So, so close. Love the old guy checking you out, but your feet are not exactly together, and that damn magazine is folding over just a little. Plus the cup placement is off again. Keep it in your mouth."

"Beautiful, but your legs can get a little higher- press them against your butt. And please, Photography Gods, give me one time when the magazine doesn't fold over."

"Aggghhhhh, it's perfect except for the magazine. Everything else is absolutely perfect. I don't know what to tell you. Maybe a slight turn of the wrist? Maybe a prayer? Something to get that cover legible. Let's try it one more time."

click to enlarge

"Perfection!! Amazing work, Annie."

Forty-five splashes later, we had our shot. I turned around to see a crowd gathered. So much for the discretion I had promised Mary. I showed everyone the photo, and they all gasped. One woman commented, "The photo makes it look so easy, but it isn't at all."

"Maybe I should write a blog that explains exactly how difficult it was." I replied.

"Yes, you should."