DPJ’s Urban Form series looks at the interplay between movement and surroundings through the lens of dancers and architecture in downtown Phoenix.

Dancers Olivia Poulter, Nicky Shindler and Johanna Hayes. Photo by Ashley Baker.

Dancers Olivia Poulter, Nicky Shindler and Johanna Hayes. Photo by Ashley Baker.

“Being lost is the beginning to some of the best adventures. Take a breath, close your eyes, and get pulled in every direction.” – Ashley

On sleepy Sunday mornings, The Arizona Center is open and inviting with the trickling of water fountains and the clatter of footsteps. With hills of grass that brings out a child-like curiosity, this is a place that holds both the stillness of a park and the accessible nature of an outdoor shopping plaza. A common ground for wedding photos and neighborhood meetings alike, the Arizona Center lives up to the name as a place for our community to gather.

Shooting photographs in a urban setting as diverse as downtown Phoenix leads to a flood of excitement, creative energy and a plethora of places to express the meaning of “direction.” This location was not originally on the roster to be photographed, but on our morning’s journey through downtown, I was drawn to this place.

In creating this photograph, dancers Olivia Poulter, Nicky Shindler, and Johanna Hayes awaited instruction, framed by palm trees, feet sinking into the damp grass. They took their final positions and in those positions there was a sense of peace from the simplicity of jumping in grass in a space that feels vast even though it is implanted in a city so full of differing textures. This reminded me that not knowing what I wanted to see or do, did not mean I could not find direction while being lost.