Anatomy of an Image: Lyrical moment in Paris
Photographer: Melika Dez
Date: July 2, 2017
Location: Palais Royal, Paris
Subject: Ten of the 16 male members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark IV camera with a 500mm Sigma Art Series lens
Dez says: One of these dancers, Michael, wanted to do an all-male photo shoot with his coworkers and thought that Paris, which the company was visiting on tour, would be a perfect location. I had done some scouting around Paris prior to the company arriving in the city. I observed the sun’s angle and took a few photos with my phone to remember that specific location. It was their first day in Paris, they were jetlagged, and the heat was overwhelming. The dancers were starting to tire. Michael and I were happy with the shots we created to that point, but we felt that we needed one final photo. Knowing that his coworkers were tired, Michael decided to have them lie on the ground and do a more lyrical shot. By the time we finished organizing the dancers, a crowd of over 50 people had gathered behind me. Once all the dancers were ready and I started shooting, there was such a profound silence around the Palais Royal you could have heard a pin drop. As soon as I knew I had the shot, I looked up, said “It’s a wrap,” and the crowd started applauding the dancers. It was such an incredible moment!
Eric Minton is a writer and editor in Washington, D.C.