Tuesday, May 15, 2012

After Thirty Cities and Hundreds of Dancers Among Us, My Journey Ends in a Boston Hospital

“You really don’t need to take any more pictures, Jordan. We’ve got more than enough for the book, and there’s only two weeks left to finish our final edit.”

I was discussing my upcoming trip to capture Dancers Among Us in Boston with Workman Publishing Senior Designer, Editor Netta Rabin. She was performing an intervention, trying to save me from myself.

No such luck.

“But my friend, Kevin Ban, is a doctor at Harvard. He can get me into the Emergency Room. I can’t say no to that.”

(Honestly, I think I’m addicted to this process. I’m feeling signs of withdrawal already)

I arrived in Boston Sunday afternoon and I was whisked directly to Beth Israel Medical Center. Welcoming me with open arms were volunteers, nurses, residents and security personnel. It was unbelievable.

I was very fortunate- it was a slow night in the ER. I asked the staff for a triage room, a shirtless volunteer to lie on a stretcher, a bunch of residents in scrubs, a heart monitor and a defibrillator. You can imagine how much fun I had shooting ABT dancer Duncan Lye in this mayhem (which is all I can offer you- Workman asked me to hold the photo until the book is published in the fall).

Waiting in the wings was Kelsey Hellebuyck, a beautiful ballerina with Boston Ballet. I turned to the head nurse.

“Can you get me an ambulance?”

We all rushed outside. The sun was setting and the EMT was about to leave for Fenway Park. We had fifteen minutes. I asked Kelsey to wear her white dress and pointe shoes. I wanted a somber mood, as if a wonderful evening had been interrupted by a terrifying event. I asked her to try different poses as the sun set behind her.

For months I have been imagining a shot of an ambulance sitting on an empty road, parked under a streetlamp.

Guess what it looked like across the street.

During the shoot we needed a little help with light. Imagine who drove up and offered to turn on his high beams. We all felt very safe.

Though my travels across the country have come to an end (for now), I still have two weeks to try my luck capturing Dancers Among Us in New York City.

Right, Netta?