Posts tagged Opera
Photographing the arts: is your photographer part of your creative team?

Theatre, dance, opera and music are some of the things I most enjoy working on as a photographer. But surprisingly often, I get a call or an email that starts off, 'I know this is short notice, but' - and it can be anything from 'we've just realised we need a photographer for next week' to 'our dress rehearsal is in an hour, can you make it?'

Often, this isn’t the production's fault - they had someone booked, something happened, they need to find another photographer on short notice. But it got me thinking recently, what's the best way to involve a photographer in a show? In an ideal world, how & when would I like to be contacted…?

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First XV: Theodora (2016)

In some ways, this final image was the hardest to choose - probably in part because the work I've done most recently is so fresh in my mind, but also because I think I've been doing a lot of good work in the last year! If I can be allowed to say so myself. (Hey, it's my blog, okay!?)

Having already posted my favourites of 2016 at the start of this year, it shouldn't be a big surprise that my favourite image is one that was on that list - from Handel's Theodora, the Pinchgut Opera production at City Recital Hall in late November...

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First XV: Marc Taddei conducts the Vector Wellington Orchestra (2007)

It's strange to have a photo where I'm actually IN it, along with the subjects - that's not usually what I'm aiming for! But this time, I didn't mind - I was just part of the audience in the concert, and I'd preset the camera on stage at interval, with a wireless trigger and my sound blimp...

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First XV: Tea: A Mirror Of Soul at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2006)

To me, there's a lot to like in this week's image, from Tan Dun's opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in 2006; it's simple, clean, and graphic.

And yet, at the same time, there's something mysterious about it. Like the best production images for promoting the arts, it raises more questions than it answers...

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‘Suddenly Wellington sort of grew up’ - 30 years of the New Zealand International Arts Festival

One of the longest & proudest associations I've had as a photographer - and as a person, really - is my work over fifteen years with the New Zealand International Arts Festival. I moved to Wellington in 1997, working as a box office manager at the time, in part lured by the fact that the venue I'd be working on was the primary ticketing agency for the Festival, and moreover that Wellington would be the last place ever to see Robert Lepage's Seven Streams Of The River Ota in 1998...

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Photographing the arts: two sides to every story

Once, early in my career, someone gave me wise advice about photographing events: 'remember, there are two sides to every story. There's what's happening on stage, and then there's the audience's reaction to it.'

Naturally, not every event I work on has an audience in attendance - often, I'm at a dress rehearsal, with only the director & crew - but also, most of the time, the audience (deliberately) isn't lit! So the opportunity to make use of this suggestion isn't always there; but once in a while, the chance comes along, and it's great to be able to take it...

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Photographing the arts: what skills are involved?

When I was studying drama at university, I went for an interview to spend the summer at the Banff Centre For The Arts. I'd been focussing on the technical side of theatre at that point, including a bit of stage management, and thought this might be an interesting way to spend a few months between school terms.

The question was asked: did I read music? And frankly, it had never occurred to me that this might be a useful skill - our university programme was pure theatre, not even musicals, much less opera or dance; so it had never come up, and of course I didn't. So, I didn't go to Banff, and I didn't become a stage manager...

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Schools Tour (2004), Parsifal (2006), La Vie & Festival Setup (2008)

Almost there - only one day left of this look back at the New Zealand Festival over the past decade or so.  Of course, the Festivals we're looking back at were winding up too, so today we've got more people than shows, as naturally there were fewer & fewer rehearsals for me to attend & photograph as the shows came to an end.

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Ravi Shankar, Mark Twain & Me in Maoriland (2010) and Hohepa (2012)

It was a pleasant surprise to be asked to pop over to Ravi Shankar's sound check on the afternoon of his concert - I don't think I was really expecting to get a chance to photograph him or the show, but I tailed Festival Director Lissa Twomey over to greet him and spent a bit of time with them as he & his daughter Anoushka got things ready for that night.  It was amazing to see him, at the age of 90, settle in and just play.  Because he could really PLAY.  Amazing - wish I'd been able to come back for the show!

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Tea, A Mirror Of Soul (2006), Seven Deadly Sins (2008) and Festival Setup (2012)

Well, now that the Festival is rolling, it would usually be a tightly scheduled 24-day marathon for me, jumping from rehearsal to rehearsal to opening night function to post-show function, with the possibility of seeing something in between those two - and from looking back over the years, there were certainly a number of days like that!

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: The Lindbergh Flight rehearsals (2008)

Continuing on from my previous post - here you can see the progress over a week of rehearsals for The Lindbergh Flight / The Flight Over The Ocean, the opera at the New Zealand Festival in 2008.  As I mentioned then, the first image image here is a surprising match for one I took a week before, when we were in the rehearsal hall!

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Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: The Trial of the Cannibal Dog rehearsals (2008)

Sometimes, images are needed for an upcoming Festival production before it actually happens - so I'm off to the rehearsal hall to capture the stage it's at currently, in this case for the programme people will get on the night of the show.

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