Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Like the Dancers Among Us

be ALIVE. That's Jordan Matter's tag line for his photo series called Dancers Among Us, and that's exactly what they do. They "be alive."

In this photo series, Matter photographed dancers in everyday settings: outside a coffee shop, at the beach, on the subway, in the rain, crossing the street. His photos create magical moments where the dancer is levitating horizontally over the water or vertically beside a building; the dancer is leaping over train tracks, hanging off a sky-scraper, draping herself over a tombstone. Every photo has a story we do not know, each dancer hears music that we cannot hear, and we are left to imagine that story, create that music. Matter's  photos capture an energy that make them come alive: he flies a little higher, she reaches slightly farther, their light embrace becomes more kinetic.

In his artist's statement, Matter explains his inspiration for the photo series. He talks about how the idea first came to him while watching his son, Hudson, play with his toy truck. Matter says all he saw was a yellow plastic truck, but his son experienced a fantasy only he could see. Matter marvels at how immersed Hudson was in the imaginary, how was completely present in it:

"What happens to this enthusiasm, this ability to be wholly present in the moment? Why are these pure moments of passion so often replaced with cynicism, boredom, and indifference? As I played with my son, I 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."

The dancers create a character that is completely in the moment. They physically embody a specific emotion, a reaction to life that we cannot express. The peace of a sunrise, grief from a death, the dedication to succeed, frustration from daily routine, the longing for freedom, the joy of watching it snow, the desire to dream.

Each photo magnifies an emotion, a passion to encourage us to imagine it. To understand that emotion. To feel that passion. React to that specific moment. To allow ourselves to experience the dreams and the failures, the beauty and the suffering. To be ALIVE.

To find more of Jordan Matter's work, click here: http://www.jordanmatter.com/


  1. I LOVE this! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  2. Well hello there Aliera,

    I love the subject matter, and especially how you analyze it a bit deeper, suggesting that the photographs are stories for the viewer to fill in. You pair this fantasy idea well with the photographer's quote, and also the prelude into the quote.

    Your review is written very smartly, I like the examples that you bring to the reader and the opening line, to attach the title with the body, is clever.

    One thing I would like to have seen is how Matter takes his photos: are they action shots or are the dancers photoshoped into the scene? Or some of both? It would be cool to learn more of his technique so we can marvel (times two!) at his photographs.

    :) Mara