Friday, March 4, 2011

Crashing Barnes and Noble

This week I had a spontaneous shoot with Durell Comedy of the prestigious Limon Dance Company. Here's how it happened. Durell saw me interviewed on NBC, discussing Dancers Among Us. I mentioned that I had worked with all the major dance companies in NYC. This understandably ruffled his feathers. He posted a comment on Facebook that basically said, "No you haven't!"

Durell's schedule is as crazy as mine, but fortunately he had a break from rehearsal this week. We didn't have time to make any plans, and we couldn't meet until 5pm in Union Square. So that meant about 30 minutes of daylight to conceive and execute a shot worthy of a Limon dancer (yes, I'm kissing his butt- I'm no fool).

Close to the subway station sat an accordion player named Phillip. This looked promising.

I approached Phillip and told him my plan. "I'd like to take a photo of a dancer playing your accordion. And I'd love to borrow your sunglasses as well." He had a dance background - how lucky for us! I asked Durell to play the accordion as if he was rocking a guitar solo with Van Halen.

I loved it! This is not an easy thing to do - that accordion is really heavy, and his leg is really high! I wanted a little more crowd interaction - someone for Durell to connect with. Phillip was looking a little lonely, so I asked him to be the audience for once. He seemed to enjoy himself.

The sun had set, but we were having too much fun to stop. I suggested crashing Barnes and Noble. We stood outside and discussed ideas, and I asked Durell if he could levitate over a laptop. The fact that he'd never tried it didn't stop him from nailing it on the first practice run. I ran around in circles, giddy with excitement - this could be really cool!

We found an empty stretch of carpet in B&N and set up the shot. After about two minutes we were told to stop. "You have to get permission from corporate headquarters to take photographs."

On to another floor to try again. There was a book signing about to start, featuring Joy Behar of The View. A crowd had gathered. I reluctantly asked permission to shoot Durell on the podium, entertaining the audience - I wanted to crash the stage, but Durell is a member of a very prestigious dance company, so he really can't risk negative publicity.

"You have to get permission from corporate headquarters to take photographs." So we went around the corner and replaced the computer with a book.

This photo is especially fun for me. Durell is looking at book of photographs by Richard Avedon. The page is opened to this image.

Look familiar?