We headed for the Hollywood Hills, looking for the famous view of downtown LA. Jamila tried several poses before she struck this beautiful back bend.
I was happy and headed off to other shoots. But as I lived with the image, I realized it could be much better. The contrast between her pose and the background was too stark- I wanted something softer. I invited Jamila to join me on a long road trip with several dancers to Joshua Tree National Park. Along for the ride was my friend, collaborator and long-time makeup artist, Ivy Vahanian.
We took several beautiful shots that day, making for a thrilling trip. As the sun was setting, I raced to shoot one final image. I asked Jamila to repeat her pose, this time in a much softer environment. I thought it was stunning.
Ivy didn't agree. Never one to hold back her opinion, she started screaming at me, desperately imploring me to see the shot from a different perspective.
"Please, please, please, PLEASE shoot this as a silhouette. JUST LOOK AT IT ALREADY."
To appease her so I could get back to my shot before the sun disappeared, I turned around and immediately understood her urgency. Now this photograph is one of my favorite images in my Dancers Among Us book. I should have learned long ago to listen when Ivy speaks.