Jordan Matter is a photographer in New York City and the photographer/author of the stunning book Dancers Among Us, A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday. It is evident in all that we know of Jordan that he truly does celebrate joy in the everyday. He loves his life, his family, and his job.
Photography was not always his passion; baseball and acting took those spots earlier in his life. That began to change for him however, after viewing an exhibit by photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. Moved by the stories of humanity the images portrayed, he picked up the camera first as a hobby, then as a passion. Later, looking through a friend’s routine and mundane headshots (from another photographer)he was inspired to grab his camera and photograph her. Soon, his career as a portrait and headshot photographer boomed.
Favorite Quote: “Leap and the net will appear.”
His idea for Dancers Among Us came from watching his three-year old son play with a toy bus and figurines. Watching his son’s imagination at work he “thought about creating photographs that would show the world as if through his eyes. The people in the images would be alive and in the moment, celebrating all aspects and emotions of everyday life.” Soon after, he attended a dance performance and knew immediately his subjects.
When Jordan began work on Dancers Among Us, he had no dance photography experience. Anyone who is either a dancer or involved with dance knows that it is not easy to capture a dancer in motion for a photo that conveys the true movement, which
makes this work just that much more amazing. As he was formulating the idea for the book, Jordan was hired by Jeffrey Smith of the Paul Taylor Dance Company to photograph his headshots. He told him about his idea of photographing dancers in everyday situations. Jeffrey Smith (pictured above) loved the idea and convinced ten company members to collaborate with Jordan. The book eventually involved 200 dancers photographed around the United States. It was three years in the making and at one point almost a goner until Workman Publishing took a chance on it.
Their gamble paid off. Dancers Among Us reached the New York Times extended Best Sellers list in its first week, selling out on Amazon within 24 hours. The book is filled with images of dancers in everyday life experiences, augmented by thoughtful quotes and text.
As I prepared to write Jordan’s bio and post photos as I always do, with permission from Jordan, I paged through his website gallery. It was so hard to choose! Like a child watching the Fourth of July fireworks display, exclaiming to myself “look at that!”(and I own a copy of the book!) each one seemed better than the last. To us, his photos truly do celebrate the joy that is dance and inspire joy as part of the everyday.
Jordan has on other book published, Uncovered and is currently working on Athletes Among Us. He also has had work featured on the Today Show, Tyra Banks, MSNBC, NBC, MTV, BBC, ZDF TV and in the NY Daily News,Washington Post, O Magazine, Dance Magazine, the Huffington Post and in newspapers, magazines and blogs around the world. He has photographed the past two advertising campaigns for the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Dancer Answer: A Question from an Aspiring Dancer
Q: From Sophia in MN–Were the photo shots mostly what the dancers felt in the moment or more your vision?
A: Jordan-Dancers are used to being told what to do and because of that they are fearless in that regard, but it was important that I tell a story, so I made sure to start with my vision.