Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dancers Among Us Gets a Second Chance With an Alvin Ailey Star

Two weeks ago I was invited to BookExpo America at the Javits Center in New York City by my publishers, Workman Publishing. They were getting ready to announce my upcoming book, Dancers Among Us, to the book world, and they wanted me to shoot some behind-the-scenes dance photos to submit to publications covering the event.

I shot on two consecutive days- the set-up at the Workman booth, and then the first day of the Expo. The images were very well received throughout the industry, and I have to thank the amazing dancers who volunteered their time- Dylis Croman Minter from "Chicago" on Broadway, Luke McCollum from Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, and three dancers from the spectacular Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater- Sean Carmon, Sarah Daley and Aisha Mitchell. To see the collection of photographs, check out my Facebook page here.

All of the shots were all very successful, but this image of Aisha waiting in line and reading Dancers Among Us went viral-

Like everyone else, I loved the image, but I couldn't include it in the book (she is actually reading the book, after all). I was crazy about the pose, just not the setting, so I asked Aisha to come back. Even worse, I asked her to leave New York City and travel an hour to the Palisades Mall in West Nyack, NY. To my great surprise, she agreed.

We met on Father's Day, so my son Hudson accompanied me on the shoot. Aisha had to stop by Forever 21 to buy the bright clothing I requested. As I waited for her, with no specific plan in mind, I saw this-

Suddenly I had a plan- Aisha would be buying shoes! Surprisingly, she did over fifty jumps without being asked to stop. I think the employees were enjoying the show. It wasn't until the final jump that two women walked into the frame and made the shot!

This is one of my favorite images in the book. I'm so glad I got another chance to work with her!

Next we headed over to Barnes and Noble. The celebrated and brilliant novelist, Paulo Coelho, recently posted one of my images on his Facebook page. I wanted to return the favor by featuring his most popular novel, The Alchemist, in a photo. Aisha came up with an amazing pose that celebrates the joy of reading. I chose to shoot right in the middle of the store, so I assumed we would be asked to stop very quickly.

Once again, nobody interrupted us, though we shot for over an hour- maybe the big companies are getting a little more lenient about art in their midst.

Hudson, who had been very patient, was finally ready to leave. But first he was inspired to try a jump of his own.

After I took five quick photos of Hudson, I heard a man's voice behind me. "Excuse me sir, we don't allow photography in the store."

Aisha's shoe image will be one of the last added to Dancers Among Us. The final layout is nearing completion, and the book can now be pre-ordered on my website by clicking the link below. It will be available everywhere books are sold this November.