There it is in black & white! My first photo to run in the Grey Lady. They ran it in color on the website, but there’s something incredibly professional feeling to open the NEW YORK TIMES(!!!) and see a photo you took inside. My thanks again to The Pearl Theatre Company for using me as their photographer for this production. You guys have given me amazing visibility with both Henry IV, Part 1 and now This Side of Neverland.
I was contacted by Mark Cajigao, who I’d met playing Trigorin in the production of The Seagull I shot back in February. In this production he was playing Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in Dylan. The show follows the poet’s life during his trips to America and his travails with drink, women and the double edged sword of celebrity. I must admit, I don’t know much about Thomas’s life, though I knew that he was a habitué of the White Horse Tavern. This tragic, though often humorous look at his final years was a good evening of theatre.
The show was performed at Voorhees Theater, which is on the campus of CUNY City Tech. This space is a hidden jewel normally used as a teaching space for their Entertainment Technology department. It’s a well appointed, if small space, but with top notch technical appointments.
The shoot went well. I was given the second row to work in and, given the small space and intimacy, there was no problem getting some lovely shots of the actors. I mostly shot with the 70-200 with some fill in from the 24-70 to get some wider shots of the set and some of the more spread out group scenes. I kept the ISO up at 6400 and was mostly covered, except for a couple of scenes that were very softly lit.
I got to return to the Pearl Theatre Company and shoot their latest show: This Side of Neverland. What a different space! From the sprawling, wide-open expanse of Henry IV, Part 1, to a constrained homage to the turn of the century theaters that might have portrayed J.M. Barrie’s plays in England. Having only known Barrie as most people probably do, from Peter Pan, it was interesting to see two of his one-act plays that were, frankly, probably a bit subversive in his day! Rosalind explores women and aging, especially women of the stage and how they must stay young to land roles and the choices they make of diet and fashion over comfort; career over family. The Twelve Pound Look takes a look at women’s independence and the false security of success and ambition. Both dealt with their themes with easy humor delivered with an occasional sting.
The shoot was uneventful. The lighting was the brightest I’ve dealt with for a while, so I was able to shoot at nice high apertures and at a relatively low ISO. My one challenge was that, especially in the first piece, the costumes tended to blend in with the set and due to the shallow stage, there wasn’t much light coming from behind to separate the actors from the background. It was 100% evocative of a music hall, but for taking photos it made things a little flat.
My friend Jessi Browne-White is a very talented artist — visual and performing. She was recently selected to be one of the artists to adorn a piano for the Sing for Hope Pianos project. As part of her vision, she needs body parts… Well, faces and arms, anyway. So for Easter, she hosted a plastering party!
We sat around the living room enjoying snacks and wine while one by one we were led to the plastering chair!
Jessica Browne-White applies plaster bandages to Tina Mitchell for a piece she’s creating for the Sing for Hope Pianos project.
Thanks to Jessi’s facility with the plaster bandages, it was quick and painless. Now I want to buy some and try my hand at plastering. Nothing is safe!
I can’t wait to see the finished product when it arrives somewhere in NYC!
New York is an amazing place for art. It’s also an amazing place for crowds.
I dropped by Grand Central Terminal to see Nick Cave’s HEARD•NY, a performance art piece of stylized horses parading in Vanderbilt Hall. I had stopped by Monday morning to see the Soundsuits “at rest” on display in the hall. I was looking forward to seeing them in motion.
When I showed up today, 15 minutes before the showing, the hall was PACKED. There were two performance spaces on either side of the central aisle through to the main hall and they were each surrounded by hordes of people. I got shoved down the side of one of the spaces and wound up about halfway along the space and 4 rows back. But since everyone was standing, it meant I could see little. So much for my idea of a nice quiet shoot.
In fact, the only way I could get any images was to go paparazzi style: arm straight up and shooting just about blind! This is the first time I’ve tried shooting this way and the results were… as expected. I’ve got a couple shots that weren’t bad, but I think I’ll go back much earlier to get a good spot.
Welcome to my updated photography site. This marks a big shift for me. For years I’ve been my own coder and I will continue to maintain my theatrical site myself — I do like control! But for my photography, I knew I wanted a site that would hit some specific marks:
- Easy to create, aesthetically pleasing galleries
- Blog features so I can write about my shoots and include a gallery
- Free up my time to shoot, edit and deliver the important stuff: the pictures
After helping out my friends Paul Peers and Tina Mitchell from Chopt Logic set up their website on WordPress, I knew I was going to go that route. Some further research brought me to the folks at Photocrati, who do a great theme with strong gallery support.
And here we are.
I’m going to be back-filling some shows I’ve shot recently and talk about my experiences. I hope I can be a resource for others as much as I’ve taken from the folks out there already.
This was an interesting shoot. My friend DarrylLee (SM from Zombies – gallery coming soon) is the stage manager for the show and I saw the marketing material come by on her Facebook. It looked like it might be interesting to shoot, so I reached out to DarrylLee to ask if I could come by. She said they had “some photographers” coming by for their final dress and I was welcome to join. Little did I know that “some” meant SEVEN other photographers. We outnumbered the cast!
Despite the fact that it felt like we were waiting for Lindsay Lohan to show up, it is a very strong show and the production values were well realized. Creative set and costumes, good fights (a personal barometer of theatrical worth) and a very good script.
One final interesting note: The producers created a drop box where the photographers could put our wares, so I got to take a peek at my fellow shooters’ work. It’s rare I see the “dump” of images from another photographer — usually it’s a few shots on a blog, one or two photos on a review or in Facebook. It was interesting to see how others chose to shoot, what they chose to show and how they chose to edit. I think I fared well amidst the crowd!
This was an incredibly fun shoot. I was actually working on this show as the understudy to Falstaff (played by the wonderful Dan Daily) and knowing a show that well certainly gives you an edge for knowing the important moments and the best angles. The Pearl is a fantastic company and this was one of their first shows in their new space (the old Signature Theater) and certainly the first that made TOTAL use of the stage area, which was giant. Certainly H4P1 is a show that can use all that space and it was used to the fullest.
This was also a great opportunity for me as a photographer, as my work was featured in many of the reviews for the show.
This show was produced and performed by some friends I’d worked with before, but hadn’t seen in ages, so wonderful to see them all again. It was also performed in one of my favorite off-off-Broadway spaces, the Women’s Interart Center, home to my friends at Blessed Unrest, but also where I directed Stormy Weather: Tornado/Avalanche.
Shooting in these small spaces is always a challenge. There’s not enough house to be able to move freely without being in everyone’s way — there was creative team in every row! I pretty much shot from one spot, but occasionally scenes unfolded favoring the other side of the stage, so I tried to head to the other side of the house around the back (oddly enough, essentially backstage) only to find that the angles there were worse! Of course that’s when the eponymous prop made his entrance and I wasn’t able to get a good shot (pardon the pun) of him.
Sometimes the Seagull wins…
This was another project I was also involved in as a performer and another marvelous opportunity. This piece was created in the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue and 66th Street, again, a place I’ve seen some amazing theatre, music and installations.