Tuesday, December 15, 2009


In our newspaper (like any other newspaper, I guess) we shoot a lot of promos for upcoming plays and musicals. Who would have ever thought that this area of North Alabama was so rich in cultural events?
Anyway, we are sent to "take pictures of a rehearsal" (that's what the photo request says), and, at least for me, nothing beats the actors/singers movements and expressions combined with real stage lighting. But more often than not, what happens is that there's no rehearsal, the lights are not on (and nobody knows where the switch is) or simply they're not meeting at the theater, but at someone's house or, even worse, at a school gym. Invariably, the conversation goes more or less like this:

They: So, how would you like to take our picture?
Me: Oh, you just start your rehearsal and I'll be shooting. You do your thing, and I'll do mine.
They: Rehearsal? Oh, no, no... We came here just for the picture. There's no rehearsal today.

I used to get very upset by this kind of situations, but recently I've changed my approach to that. If this is going to happen over and over again, there's no point in getting upset. So, one fine day, I decided that is these are just promo photo shoots (not documentary photojournalism) I was going to take it easy and treat them as promos, using my own lighting (usually two off-camera flashes with shoot-through umbrellas) and trying to give the final product a rather magazine/poster look. I'm now having more fun doing it, trying new stuff everytime and, most important, learning something new each time. Here's some recent pics:

From a Burt Bacharach revisited show

From a Decatur Civic Chorus musical

From the original Athens, AL musical "We interrupt this program... Pearl Harbor remembered"



Trying to get something a bit different out of the countless christmas parades we shoot every year.

THANKSGIVING LUNCH (another year...)

Like a year ago, this year I had to work on thanksgiving day, too. Again, I wasn't allowed to show recognizable prison inmates' faces. Obviously, I didn't want to take a picture similar to last year's (it's somewhere on this blog). I saw this little girl who was helping her mom to serve soda to the inmates and decided to follow her and see what happened. The light was coming from a window very high up behind her, so her face was very dark most of the time. But then she came next to that inmate and the light reflected off his orange/white jail suit onto the girl's face. I focused on her and hoped the guy turned his face so it wouldn't be recognizable... And it actually happened.
I think the girl's facial expression is priceless.