Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Photograph the World Never Saw... Until Now

As I was taking this photograph of Parisa Khobdeh, I knew immediately it would be the cover shot for the Paul Taylor Dance Company's (PTDC) 2012 Moving! campaign.

In my blog, "When Life Gives You Lemons..", I documented the drama that led to creating this image. It was exhilarating, the culmination of a long history of collaborating with Parisa that started almost three years ago, on my first day of shooting Dancers Among Us.

"I've got this idea for dancers in everyday situations." I explained in our first phone conversation. I didn't have to say anything else.

"Fun. Meet me at Grumpy's, my favorite coffee bar. Let's do a coffee drinking photo."

She embraced the collaborative process so completely that I almost didn't have to collaborate.

"I'm going to a Yankee game. Meet me there. I'll do a jump in the crowd."

"I want to do a photo where I'm floating away holding balloons. I'll bring the balloons!"

It was fitting that Parisa ended up with the campaign's cover shot. The image would be displayed on a huge banner. Like a siren floating above Lincoln Center, Parisa would coax throngs of patrons into the David H. Koch Theater. PTDC would immediately sell-out their season, and I would be celebrated across the globe as the greatest living dance photographer...

"We're not using it. Can you shoot Parisa again?" Executive Director John Tomlinson asked me bluntly.


"It doesn't match the 'Moving' theme. She's not going anywhere."


"I want her jumping out of a bus, on her way to the show."


"We need it for the cover of the brochure."

"The cover? Why didn't you say so? The bus is a great idea!"

Indeed, it was.

I can't argue with John- the shot works beautifully for the campaign. However, I still love the first photo, and I really wish I could put it on a cover as well.

Wait a minute...