Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jerry Springer the Opera

I've been taking photos of rehearsals for the production "Jerry Springer the Opera" over the last couple of weeks. This is a controversial 'show' based on the Jerry Springer Show that caused enough outrage in the States when it was first aired and is still generating anger amongst some since the program is still running.
The script of this show is set in Hell and there are appearances by (people playing the parts of) Jesus, Satan, God and Mary to name a few.  Needless to say the four-letter words and their relatives are sprinkled liberally throughout and even mixed in (comically) with music.

The first session was in the 'Blue Room' at the Helix.  First impressions?  There was virtually no light.  There were some lights but they seemed to directed towards the walls so the lighting on the people there was reflected.  I like to blend into the background when I photograph rehearsals and flash is out of the question.  So I was left with no choice but to shoot at high ISO speeds.  I started at 1600 ISO and found I was running out of aperture or shutter speed.  In my attempts to keep on top of the changing lighting situation I gave up shooting manual, bumped the ISO up to 6400, set the shutter speed to 1/125 sec, changed to mono (still in RAW tho') and let the aperture float.

Some of the results are below ....

This is one of my favourite shots.  I was using the mirrors to reasonably good effect but there were distortions and joints so not perfect.  I saw the cast line up in front of the mirror wall and had taken a shot from behind ...
.... that I did like but wondered what a shot from the side would look like.  Ideally I would have liked it better if the Producer (standing) and the choreographer (ironically sitting) were reversed.  This would have had more of the people, including the choregorapher, looking in my direction.  Still, I'll take what I can get.

Another shot I got involved the mirror and as far as I know the subject wasn't aware I was taking it.  The other person in the photo obviously was!
Note the tried and trusted camera hold guaranteed to assist the IS capabilities of the Canon lens.  However this requires liberal use of anti perspirant on at least one armpit!  :-)

And my last favourite shot of the producer (John Donnelly) and 'Jerry Springer' (Simon Delaney) having a laugh together.
More shots are available to view on my Facebook page.  So how would I judge my own photos?  They wouldn't do well in a competition.  Blown out highlights, blocked up blacks, high contrast, noisy.  All the technical ingredients that would put them at the bottom of the pile.  Very few would stand on their own without context.  But .... while I was taking the photos for my own portfolio, the style suited what it was - the gritty background to putting on the magic of a stage performance.  I'm glad to say that the 'style' also impressed the producer and graphic artist and a selection of photos will appear in the programme.

More photos to come.  I've done a second set of rehearsal photos and I have to take a shot of the whole cast (50+) and not make it look like a 'school hall photo'.

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