theatre

Recent work - July 2019

Shane Richie, who is appearing as Archie Rice in John Osborne’s play, The Entertainer⁠.

Shane Richie, who is appearing as Archie Rice in John Osborne’s play, The Entertainer⁠.

Cover shoot for the Donmar Warehouse magazine

Cover shoot for the Donmar Warehouse magazine

(Above and below) Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, University of London's Vice-Chancellor, pictured at Senate House⁠, along with staff members.

(Above and below) Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, University of London's Vice-Chancellor, pictured at Senate House⁠, along with staff members.

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Anna Taylor, Greta Thunberg & Caroline Lucas at a Guardian Live panel in London. ⁠

Anna Taylor, Greta Thunberg & Caroline Lucas at a Guardian Live panel in London. ⁠

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Corporate portrait for Proofpoint

Corporate portrait for Proofpoint

Jamil Nathoo, Dell’s Vice President and General Manager, Consumer & Small Business

Jamil Nathoo, Dell’s Vice President and General Manager, Consumer & Small Business

Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK⁠ at the Shoreditch campus.

Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK⁠ at the Shoreditch campus.

David Kamenetzky, Director at Kuehne + Nagel International AG

David Kamenetzky, Director at Kuehne + Nagel International AG

(Above and below) Arlo Brady, CEO of Freuds.

(Above and below) Arlo Brady, CEO of Freuds.

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From the archives - six

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I’m finally getting round to watching the Star Wars series and recognised actor John Boyega (he plays a stormtrooper who joins the good guys). I felt sure I’d met him somewhere, but I wasn’t too certain. I couldn’t think where it could have been, or when.

And I don’t really trust my memory. I have mild prosopagnosia - meaning I struggle to remember faces (one of the worst things for a photographer to have). However, I always remember faces I’ve edited. That is, if I’ve photographed someone, I'll remember. My prosopagnosia has led to some interesting situations which I’m sure I’ll blog about.

Anyway, with John, if we had met, it would have had to have been at a rehearsal or photocall. Browsing the archives, there he was. At the Tricyle theatre (now The Kiln Theatre), I photographed a series of work entitled Not Black & White - three plays tackling prejudice. Several years ago. I got two frames of John.

But what I remember most wasn’t John, or the rehearsals, but a conversation about music with the guy on the right (above), and him telling me about ‘Radiodread’ - a reggae/ska cover of OK Computer.

Funny thing, memory.

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Recent work - February 2019

Here’s a selection of recent work , mostly with a commercial / event angle:

We took Joey up on the roof at dusk to announce the return of  War Horse  return to the  National Theatre .

We took Joey up on the roof at dusk to announce the return of War Horse return to the National Theatre.

Also for the NT,  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  was moving to the  Piccadilly Theatre.  We took the scene where Christopher is lost and bewildered on arriving in London, and shot it at Piccadilly Circus lights. It was probably the least unusual thing going on there, despite Toby being a real rat on this occasion (we’d used a puppet  previously ).

Also for the NT, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was moving to the Piccadilly Theatre. We took the scene where Christopher is lost and bewildered on arriving in London, and shot it at Piccadilly Circus lights. It was probably the least unusual thing going on there, despite Toby being a real rat on this occasion (we’d used a puppet previously).

Egypt’s tourism minister Rania Al-Mashat prepares for a live interview at Bloomberg.

Egypt’s tourism minister Rania Al-Mashat prepares for a live interview at Bloomberg.

One of a set of portraits for Freesat at their offices.

One of a set of portraits for Freesat at their offices.

(above and below) I was sent to photograph BTS of the judges and finalists of for Toyota Mobility Foundation’s $4 million ‘Mobility Unlimited Challenge’ at the offices of (partner) Nesta, the Innovation Foundation. Innovators from around the world presented their technologies aimed to improve the lives of people with lower limb paralysis.

(above and below) I was sent to photograph BTS of the judges and finalists of for Toyota Mobility Foundation’s $4 million ‘Mobility Unlimited Challenge’ at the offices of (partner) Nesta, the Innovation Foundation. Innovators from around the world presented their technologies aimed to improve the lives of people with lower limb paralysis.

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(above and below) Global industry leaders came together for the live launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) at the Leadenhall building.

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(above and below) A circus skills workshop for students ahead of Cirque du Soleil’s  Totem

(above and below) A circus skills workshop for students ahead of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem

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Also for  Mousetrap Theatre Projects  ,  I photographed a Relaxed Performance of   Motown - The Musical   .  These performances are designed for families with children with special needs.

Also for Mousetrap Theatre Projects, I photographed a Relaxed Performance of Motown - The Musical. These performances are designed for families with children with special needs.

I ran a (very) informal photography session, and took photos of visitors, at Facebook London’s annual ‘Take Your Parents to Work’ day. This is me - and I don’t like having my picture taken.

I ran a (very) informal photography session, and took photos of visitors, at Facebook London’s annual ‘Take Your Parents to Work’ day. This is me - and I don’t like having my picture taken.

(above and below) Product shots for  Fruitflow .

(above and below) Product shots for Fruitflow.

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MP Ed Miliband speaks about Net Zero Britain at Portcullis House (a discussion on climate policy, not Brexit).

MP Ed Miliband speaks about Net Zero Britain at Portcullis House (a discussion on climate policy, not Brexit).

Jane Eyre

Following a critically acclaimed season at the National Theatre, Jane Eyre is touring the UK from April. I was commissioned to photograph the cast and crew on their first day of rehearsals.

Normally, these take place in a large, open space with chairs which we arrange so as not to have everyone just standing in a line. It's a quick group shot, a smaller group of the cast, and then a shot of the lead(s).

This time, I walked in to see this great set: 

Finally, a chance to place people on different levels, where they can have different poses in, on and around a relevant and interesting location.

Except...

The first thing is that when something looks good, it doesn't necessarily translate well or immediately in a photo. This angle is ok, but I didn't much want to include the fire exit to the left of A, nor the lights above the stage. Also, somehow I always feel I want to get in "among" a location, but by shooting from points A or B, at once I lose 1/4 of the useful area of stage, as well as showing the doors, tables, fire exits etc. (out of shot).

 

It seems something from around the bottom/left of the ramp is probably the best option. 

As for lighting, the yellowish ambient is 1/60 at f5 on 1250 ISO, but I've brightened it up here so it's perhaps a stop or so less. Ideally I want a better depth of field, as there are a lot of people and I'm intending to spread them around the set.

I have three speedlights and my stands reach about 8 feet high.

On the right (C) I can't use (any kind) of light on a stand, because it won't be high enough for people around point B: it would light them from below. Apart from the fact the ramp is sloped, the end of the stage is higher than the floor. Moving it further away would begin equate to side-lighting - as well as distributing the light more evenly across the image from right to left - I'd need a huge amount of power, and due to to numbers, some of the forty or so people would likely fall into shadow. It could be done at full power perhaps, but recycle times would be slow. 

On the left of A and running behind towards me, there's a wall, limiting lighting options there. It's white and it can be bounced off, but its relative proximity to those on the ramp means they'll be lit, but those around B won't be.

Bouncing isn't a good solution either as the ceiling is high and dark brown wood. A lot of power for a limited return. 

The messy diagram above shows what I ended up doing. On the left, a reflective umbrella at point A (which you can see in the final shot below). It has less effect as the light falls off moving across to the right, becoming more of a fill. 

The second light, also on a stand, was pointed at a grey curtain several metres away at C. Pointing it upwards at a 60° angle created a high bounce, which made a soft fill light, from above right.

I kept one light on camera and also pointed it up and backwards (roughly 75°), again to bounce high off the wall right behind me. This acted as a fill for those at the front, who had no light on them. 1/100 at f6.3 was enough (just barely) to keep people sharp throughout.

A simpler shot ie without flash, using a higher ISO (perhaps 2500 or 5000) and sorting colours and general muddiness later in post might have been preferable: the portrait below of the actress playing Jane used one light and took less than 30 seconds!  

View from the gods

I covered a 'Relaxed Performance' of Mamma Mia for Mousetrap Theatre Projects. These are for families who have children with special needs, and provide an opportunity for young people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs who require a more relaxed environment.

I've shot a few of these, and look for images of families enjoying the shows in the stalls, but usually the light drops off considerably beyond the fourth or fifth rows closest to the stage, and with limited access to shoot from the front (sometimes I'll shoot from a box, or in front of the edge of the stage), coverage can be quite tricky and limiting. 

This was taken from the gods - I'm not really sure why I was up there in the first place, as it's very dark - I'd enough of the usual images, and I often wander around locations for ideas, if I can. In any case, it hadn't occurred to me at all to look for silhouettes, but I noticed one boy dancing (something you wouldn't see usually - I imagine Abba fans can only tap their feet politely at a regular performance), but here everyone is free to express themselves. 

The performers themselves comment afterwards on the incredible energy in the audience, and the families have a fantastic experience, at what (I assume) must be a fairly rare opportunity for many.