A Pirouette on a Wine Bottle: The Story Behind the Image

We recently featured an amazing image of a dancer by photographer Jordan Matter on Shutterbug.com (it first appeared in the April 2015 issue of Shutterbug magazine) and got such a great response to it and the story behind it, we decided to check in with him again on another shot of his that's getting lots of buzz.

The image, shown at the top of this story, features a dancer balancing on top of wine bottle en pointe in a near pirouette. Matter captured it recently as part of his "Dancers After Dark" project.

See a behind-the-scenes photo and read the backstory on this incredible shot in our follow-up interview with Matter below.

Shutterbug: First off, can you give us some background on you as a photographer?

Matter: I'm a portrait photographer based in New York City. I began my career as a New Year's resolution in 2000, and I've been shooting almost every day since. My first book, "Uncovered", was self-published. In 2012 "Dancers Among Us" became an instant bestseller. I am currently working on two new books.

Shutterbug: Your shot of a dancer delicately balanced upon a bottle is amazing and it’s become a sensation on Facebook. Where did you get the idea for the shot and how was the image captured?

Matter: The dancer, Cinthia Conlon, met me in Chicago for the shoot (she flew in from California). We spent the evening with several other dancers shooting nude portraits in the streets for my next book, "Dancers After Dark."

At the end of our adventures, Cinthia showed us this trick she can do on a wine bottle. Obviously it had to be photographed. Another dancer helped her get set on the bottle, and she was able to the pose for a few seconds. We shot this several times, both clothed and nude, before the bottle finally shattered in the street.

Shutterbug: What type of gear did you use to capture this shot and is it difficult to do a photo shoot like this on city streets?

Matter: I use a Nikon D4S with a variety of Nikon lenses (this was shot with 28-70 f/2.8 zoom). For the evening shots, I light with a Roto Light, which is a fixed light source with the ability to adjust both brightness and color temperature. I find shooting spontaneously on the streets to be more inspiring than it is difficult. Of course, I have to watch out for people in the background, and law-enforcement issues, but overall it's very exciting.

Shutterbug: What other projects are you working on these days?

Matter: "Dancers After Dark," a series of nude portraits at night in public environments throughout the world, will be published in the fall of 2016. "Tiny Dancers Among Us," a celebration of childhood, will be published in the spring of 2017. I am currently shooting for both projects.

You can see a larger version of the image at the top of this story and learn more about it on Matter's Facebook page.