Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

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I’m not sure at this point if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard of Misty Copeland. Besides making history as the only African American soloist dancing with the American Ballet Theatre, her best-selling autobiography, ‘Life In Motion’, dancing onstage with Prince, appearing in ads for Under Armour, Dr. Pepper, Coach, The Corcoran Group and T-Mobile, and her numerous features in magazines like The New Yorker, Vogue, Elle and New York Magazine, the 32 year-old ballerina is possibly the most visible face in the dance World since Baryshnikov. And my buddy Rob Smith asked me to put her on the cover of Arrive. Here’s the behind-the-scenes from our day at Bathhouse Studios

Since we knew we would have relatively limited time with Misty, Rob and I had worked up our ideas for the shoot early on. The story was about mentors, and we would be photographing Misty with Raven Wilkinson, the first black woman to dance full-time in a major ballet company, including Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, the Dutch National Ballet, and the New York City Opera Ballet. We had to get enough for our cover, a few opening shots, a portrait of Misty and Raven together and anything else we could fit in! But shooting at the Bathhouse meant we would have lotsa space to set up everything beforehand cuz the studio is so beautifully huge!

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Our setup on the cyc…and that marvelously high ceiling…

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Kaz and I setting up the two-shot of Misty and Raven…

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Robert and Julien sitting in for our cover…

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Julien taking flight…

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My stylist Karen Sherwood laying out the wardrobe…

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Misty arrived just as we were about finished with our setup and went into hair & makeup right away…

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…but shortly afterwards, our little dancers from the ABT School showed up…

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and they quickly put on a little show for Misty…

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Julien grabbed Misty to test the lighting on our first setup…

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…and so started our shooting day…

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Here is the final portrait of Raven and Misty…

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Next, we moved onto the cyc for our opening photo of Misty with the Dance School students…

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Misty approves…

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…and the resulting photograph…

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Now I wanted to do a series of solo shots of Misty in different positions. The idea was that I would assemble these solo images into one unified ‘group’ photograph…

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And the final ‘group’ shot…

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Before I took Misty off the cyc, I pulled out my vintage stools for one more idea…

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Best shot of those two stools I’ve ever taken…

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Oh yeah…I nearly forgot…CBS sent over Anthony Mason and a film crew to document our little shoot for CBS Sunday Morning

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Now where was I…oh right…the final shot would be of Misty and Raven together for our cover. We re-purposed that ballet barre from the shot with the kids, and set up a very simple situation with a big, soft Octalite…Misty in her costume as her mentor looked on…

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Our cover image…

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Here’s how everything looked in ‘Arrive’…

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Song of the Day

MELODY GARDOT
Who Will Comfort Me


DOWNLOAD: Who Will Comfort Me

CBS Sunday Morning did a wonderfully moving profile this past week on Melody Gardot, a 24 year-old jazz singer from Philadelphia, but far better known in Paris where she is held in such high regard that her recent album, My One and Only Thrill, went double-platinum almost the second it was released! But they weren’t featuring her just because of her singing…no, the real story is how she fought back from a near-fatal accident where she was mowed down while riding her bike by a guy who ran a red light. She suffered serious head and spinal injuries and her pelvis was shattered in two places. As a result she was confined to her hospital bed for a year and had to remain lying on her back. The most noticeable effect of the injuries she suffered is that she was left hyper-sensitive to both light and sound and wears dark sunglasses at all times to shield her eyes. The accident also caused both long and short term memory problems and difficulty with her sense of time. As therapy, she began writing music…at first, she learned to hum but was eventually able to sing into a tape recorder. Making a verbal attempt to sing or hum apparently helped her brain form new neural pathways to take over for the ones damaged in the accident. All things considered, it’s a pretty amazing story. You should check her out on MySpace or on her website!