Jordan Matter
jordanmatterphotos
10/2/13
10:42 AM
2

We discovered this location as it was getting dark. I had the idea of substituting a soccer ball for pebbles, and I realized we needed flowers to tell the story. So I started knocking on doors to borrow some. In the end we found a bodega and bought them just in time to get the dark blue sky before it changed to black.

10/2/13
10:42 AM
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After throwing the ball in the air, Ethan would lift his leg up like he had just kicked it.

10/2/13
10:41 AM
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In order to get the ball just right, Ethan was actually throwing it in the air.

10/2/13
10:41 AM
2

Ethan Zohn was a professional soccer player, but he's best known for winning Survivor and beating cancer. I photographed him years ago for a celebrity charity. I told him about my work on Dancers Among Us. He said, "If you ever do Athletes Among Us, I'm in." And so the idea was born, although it took me years to begin

10/2/13
10:40 AM
2

Erik played for the Atlanta Falcons. The shirt was too big in the shoulders, so we had to pin back the extra fabric to show off his awesome arms.

10/2/13
10:39 AM
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I love the placement of Cosmo and flowers in the grocery cart. It's a funny contrast to his manly demeanor. Is he shopping for his wife? Or is he really in touch with his feminine side?

10/2/13
10:38 AM
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This is Erik's wife and other daughter, so this is about the funnest family photo you could have.

10/2/13
10:38 AM
1

This is Erik's daughter. The lollypop was to keep her happy (she was pretty tired), but it also works perfectly in the photo.

10/2/13
10:37 AM
1

He had no idea this was about to happen. It was a genuine reaction.

10/2/13
10:37 AM
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This is the first shot I took for Athletes Among Us. I'm lucky it turned out so well, otherwise I may have stopped before I started. I had the idea for this shot but no permission to use the location, so we practiced the shot in the parking lot. Once we were ready we walked in the store, but before we could get the

10/2/13
10:36 AM
3

I wanted pedestrians waiting to cross the street, so that it made sense to have Jackie hanging above—"How does a gymnast wait for the green light?" But needing them to be waiting made it very difficult to coordinate Jackie's climb up the pole (she scaled that thing in about five seconds). And nobody's looking at her.

10/2/13
10:35 AM
9

When I took this shot, Jackie's arms were shaking. She was about to let go, and seconds later she scurried to safety. Yet look at how cool she seems. She never let on how difficult it was. She made only two attempts to get the shot before she was too exhausted to continue. Each time she held on for about ten seconds,

10/2/13
10:35 AM
2

She was initially apprehensive when I suggested this idea, but the athlete in her loved the challenge. Before her first attempt I said, "Pray to whatever god you believe in."

10/2/13
10:34 AM
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It's difficult to see, but Jackie's hands are wrapped in athletic tape and she's covered in chalk.

10/2/13
10:34 AM
1

Initially I had envisioned a shot of a gymnast hanging upside down in a subway car, but then I got this idea right before catching the train.

10/2/13
10:33 AM
3

This isn't the first pole Jackie climbed that day. We tried this shot at a different location, and we were immediately stopped by a police officer. He told me that if we tried it again, we'd be taking a ride in his car. But by then I was desperate to get the shot, so we walked for awhile and tried it again. This time

10/2/13
10:32 AM
1

I love her expression. So intense. This shot looks like the Nike "Just Do It" campaign on steroids.

10/2/13
10:32 AM
1

It was a dreary day in Chicago, which fit the gritty mood of the shot perfectly. If there was sun, the shot would have been overexposed, and the train might have been washed out.