Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stop the Presses! Dancers Among Us is Delayed... by Dancers Among Us

Last week I was lucky to go on press for the printing of Dancers Among Us. I flew to Indiana with two members of the Workman Publishing team- Netta Rabin, the brilliant senior designer/editor who discovered and created the book, and Doug Wolff, senior production manager in charge of making everything look beautiful (among a thousand other things).

The day was gorgeous- a harbinger of things to come.

We arrived bright and early, and we were escorted through the huge facility (several football fields, at least) to the area where Dancers Among Us was printing. We had to wear steel toe boots and ear plugs, and once we arrived on press I understood why. It's very loud, very dangerous, and very exciting! The printing press moves at an insane pace and never stops!

The press never stops, that is, unless a dancer arrives wearing pointe shoes and a tank top. Kara Lozanovski drove three hours from Chicago to help me memorialize this special moment with a new Dancers Among Us photo. Everyone was concerned for her safety, so they agreed to stop the presses for thirty minutes while we rushed to complete the process.

I found a perfect spot with printing plates strewn about; it had a gritty feel and amazing light. "We need to make her really grimy and exhausted looking, like she's been on press all night," I said. "She needs to be covered in ink from head to toe."

Everyone balked at this idea. "There's no way she'll be able to get the ink off. Can you just put it on her shirt instead? Definitely not on her skin."

I looked at Kara. She smiled. I grabbed an ink knife-

By the time we figured out the pose, we had about ten minutes to shoot. It all came down to the final seconds. Production schedules can't be delayed. I was shooting frantically until I just couldn't stall anymore. In the end, my favorite shot catches Kara candidly glancing over at Netta with a look of intensity on her face. It was a real moment- that pose was not easy to hold!

It was a magical day. Everyone on press was enthusiastic about their work, and the final pages look gorgeous as a result! And I have a great new photograph to feature in my next book, More Dancers Among Us (which means we HAVE to do a follow-up book, right Workman team?).

Oh, and about that ink? Turns out it's not so difficult to remove after all (provided you have some kind of magical industrial strength turpentine concoction).

Dancers Among Us hits bookstores on October 23, but you can pre-order your copy here. You can also purchase tickets for the launch party in NYC with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.