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Posts tagged Sydney
The iPhone 11 Pro camera: a photographer's first impressions

I haven’t updated my phone in four years, my iPhone 6S was starting to drive me nuts with some app or other draining the battery life, it was time; and being a photographer, of course I went for the one with the best / most cameras available. So, am I happy with it? Let’s have a look at some images…

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Photographing the arts: invisibility by design

There’s an inherent irony to photographing performance, I think - and, at times, to designing for the stage, especially for drama.

The ideal is, sometimes, not to be noticed; for your work, however complex or difficult it may have been to complete, to just be accepted as part of the production; not showy, or calling attention to itself, and jolting the audience out of the experience. If someone thinks ‘wow, what a great lighting cue that was!’ then it possibly wasn’t, because they noticed it. A truly great cue would be subtle, almost subliminal; and it would have the emotional impact that moment required, without necessarily being detected by the audience.

And so it is with photography - the ideal is for the camera, and the photographer, to be completely invisible - both to the performers on stage, and equally to the person viewing the photos later - and for the images to be a clear portal into the production, in a sense.

So, ironically, the better I am at not being noticed in the construction or design elements of an image, the more successful that image usually is…

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Photographing the arts: the poster / promotional shoot

I’ve written before about the range of different ways a photographer can be involved in creating images for a production; and in my other essays on photographing the arts I’ve tended to focus on the actual production stills taken on stage, so it’s about time I looked at the poster / promotional image side of things.

There are a thousand different ways to go about creating a ‘teaser’ or promotional image for a show, so this is just an example of what we did in this particular case; but for me, the overall approach is usually the same: get to know the script, the characters and their relationships, find out about the design & directorial concepts for the production, come up with some visual ideas that underscore elements of what’s being created, and (if necessary) scout for locations that will work for what we want to achieve.

In this case, for the Darlinghurst Theatre Company production of Once, my feeling was that connection lay at the heart of the story - the relationship between Guy and Girl (as the characters are known), supported by the community of musicians they encounter through the course of their story…

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Photographing the arts: on deadlines (or, the best you can do by Tuesday)

“It was a matter of the best you could do between now and Tuesday.” However, he was quick to add, “the best you could do between now and Tuesday is still a kind of best you can do...”

I first heard this quote from cinematographer Alex Funke, at the time a neighbour of mine in New Zealand - who worked for many years in the offices of Charles & Ray Eames - and it stuck with me as being something that applies to all creative work, especially in performing arts.

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Photographing the arts: talking production photography on the Closing Night Theatre Therapy podcast

I had a chat recently with hosts Nate Edmondson and Suzy Wrong at the Closing Night: Theatre Therapy podcast, along with photographer Clare Hawley, about what’s involved in theatre photography - the business, as well as the art - and that episode has just been released over the weekend.

We talk about a lot of different elements of what we do, so I though I’d put together a few links here to some of my blog posts that overlap with the discussion, in case anyone wants to read more about a certain subject - or if I make more sense in writing than I do on the radio!

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Photographing the arts: how do I support design decisions through production images?

Six characters in search of a voice, Small Mouth Sounds is a near-silent play featuring a group of individuals sharing a silent retreat, the quiet broken only by the pronouncements of the self-declared guru they’ve come to learn from. But will they learn anything from him, or each other?

The play is as much about the baggage the characters bring with them to the retreat, and how each of them handles their own failures and weaknesses - or, completely fails to - over the course of a few days together. In silence…

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Photographing the arts: on shadows, strobes, & saturation

I wouldn’t describe myself as a massive fan of horror films, but I’ve seen my share. So when I was contacted about photographing Alice In Slasherland for Last One Standing, I was certainly interested - the idea of doing horror-comedy on stage is something that doesn’t get explored that often; apart from Evil Dead: The Musical I’d seen in Toronto years ago, I couldn’t think of another example off the top of my head.

Of course, theatre lighting is an interesting challenge at the best of times for a photographer; add in saturated colours, strobe lighting during action sequences, and fast movement in low light…well, it’s tricky!

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Photographing the arts: on working long-term with your photographer

I’ve been working with director Dino Dimitriadis from Apocalypse Theatre for several years now, on shows around Sydney; in fact, I think Angels In America is our tenth production together! So it’s only natural that we’ve gotten to know each other’s methods of working, over that time.

It’s interesting to have an ongoing working relationship like ours; it’s not something that happens all that often, as a freelance photographer in the arts. Often we’re not contacted until quite close to production, with the result being that whoever’s available on the day is the person who does the work…

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The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, at Darlinghurst Theatre Company

I’m really pleased to be spending time with Darlinghurst Theatre Company this year - their whole mainstage season, in fact - not only because they do good work, but they’re also really lovely to work with. So it’s great to be ducking over to the Eternity Playhouse on a regular basis, all through 2019!

Our first production in this collaboration, which is on through 24 February at the Eternity Playhouse, is The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice - starring the amazing Caroline O’Connor as Mari, and the wonderful Geraldine Hakewill as her daughter “LV”.

Directed by Shaun Rennie - who I also worked with on Only Heaven Knows at the Hayes - it’s a dark comedy about finding your voice, breaking out of old relationship traps, and being true to yourself…

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Carols by Cabaret at the Hayes Theatre, Sydney

The annual Carols by Cabaret event was earlier this week, once again raising funds for the Wayside Chapel’s annual appeal - donating a plate, to feed homeless residents on Christmas day.

This was my third time at the event, volunteering my time once again, to help in a small way - and as always it was a great deal of fun, featuring some of Sydney’s best performers from shows at the Hayes this year…

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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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Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter Pro with Hi-Sync for Fuji Cameras - a brief introduction

For photographers who use the Elinchrom lighting system, one of the appealing parts of the kit has been the ability to take portable studio lights into the field, and do (more or less) whatever we could do indoors with them, out in the wild.

The Quadra / ELB battery powered system has been around for a while now - I started using it a few years ago with my Canon gear, but when I switched completely to Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras earlier this year, it limited a few of my options in terms of how I could trigger the lights. The high speed options went away - but as of now, late September 2018, they’ve released the Fuji version of that trigger; so naturally, I got in line to get my hands on one as soon as they arrived…

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Photographing the arts: testing & transition

I've written before about the friction of change when you upgrade or change photographic equipment; how getting a new camera can actually make you a worse photographer for a while, as you re-learn everything you've done by instinct for a long time.

Well...I've done it again. (Hopefully it doesn't show, except in a good way!) But sometimes, everything just falls into place.

I worked with Alex Berlage back in January on his marvellous show, There Will Be A Climax - so I was really pleased when he got in touch a little later to talk about his next project, and see how I could get involved on it...

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Photographing the arts: inclusion & exclusion

For me, this show started in a warehouse, lying on the floor.

The director, myself, and a model needed to put together an image for the Mardi Gras brochure, before casting was even underway; so we worked together (on the floor) to come up with a look that could say something about the production, without revealing too much - either in terms of the show, or the body.

Because we did know at least that - there were certainly going to be bodies, on stage...

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How to hashtag (and photo credit) #likeaboss

I get it. I do.

It's hard to remember to credit the photographer every time you post something on Instagram. There are so many hashtags and tags to include, plus the location, not to mention the caption - something sometimes gets missed.

But...what if it wasn't that hard? What if you could automate your hashtag / photo credits, for every show? And what if it was actually EASIER than typing them on your phone, even ONCE?

Oh, but it can be. It really, really can.

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