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Posts tagged Theatre
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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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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There Will Be A Climax at the Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney

"An assorted few are convinced they are stuck on a spinning revolve."

So that's pretty much all I knew about There Will Be A Climax, going into the dress rehearsal. There's a revolve - noted. Be ready for movement.

Over the past few months, I've been testing out a new camera, the Fuji X-T2, specifically to see whether I could use it for things like theatre - whether the autofocus would work in low light, whether it would be as good as the Canon gear I've worked with for the past fifteen years.

I'm pretty sure this show proved it is - and then some...!

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High Fidelity at the Hayes Theatre

Over at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point, they do keep busy. It seems like every few weeks there's a new production opening; most recently, the musical High Fidelity, from Highway Run Productions & director Neil Gooding.

As with everything I've seen at the Hayes, the cast and production are exceptional - in a lot of cases, they've come straight from a much larger show to work in this ~100 seat venue, so there's certainly no shortage of available talent in Sydney, at every level of production.

And the reviews reflect that; so of course, the challenge for me is to make it look as good - or better - than it did on stage, so the images that go to reviewers underscore the points they're making about the production, in a positive light...

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Wasted by Kate Tempest at the Factory Theatre, Sydney

When I got a call recently about a show at the Factory Theatre, and the director described it as 'written by an English slam poet', I didn't exactly know what to expect.

I mean, I've seen the occasional performance poet (Christian Bök at the NZ Festival springs to mind) - but it would be interesting to see how that translated onto the stage, and via the mouths of actors, into characters in a story.

Turns out, there's no question - Wasted is a play, that's clearly written by a poet; and that's fine, actually...

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First XV: The Dapto Chaser (2015)

The Dapto Chaser is one of those shows that will stick with me for years to come.

For me, it's great when I have the opportunity to be involved with a production at several points along the way, from the initial publicity images through rehearsals and onto the stage itself - getting to know the production, as well as the cast and crew, as we get closer to the opening...

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First XV: Angels In America Part 1: Millennium Approaches at Belvoir (2013)

This image marks a new beginning in my career to date, as it's the first production photography I did in Australia after relocating to Sydney in December 2012; fortunately for me, it was also a really great production, both in terms of how it looked in the images, and how it played out on stage...!

Belvoir's production of Angels In America is one I've written about before, and one I'm always happy to have another look at; so it's not so surprising that this image is one of my favourites from that year. Really, the hard part was choosing just one moment from the show...

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