two blogs in one day! it’s actually nice to get some time off and sit down and review the last month or two. as well as the work on the Cultural Olympiad project, I’ve also been lucky enough to work on a series of theatre productions. having not done that much theatre work last year, i’m really enjoying the shoots i’ve done this last month or two. two of the shoots have been for The National Theatre Of Wales, and both of them were fascinating. the first was on their production In Water I’m Weightless, which was the first time i’d worked with an entire cast of disabled performers. it dawned on me as i was shooting portraits of the actors, that although i’ve done quite a number of shoots with people with disabilities, i’ve never shot anyone deaf before. one of the shots below is the portrait i took of deaf actress Sophie Stone. i love this photo, not only because i think it’s a nice shot of Sophie, who is a very photogenic woman, but because it came about through a process of lip reading and well quite simply, just exchanged looks between us. as daft and possibly pretentious as it sounds, i think it’s one of the purest portraits i’ve ever taken.
the other play i worked on with NTW was their production of Coriolan/us which was in association with the RSC as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. based in an aircraft hanger in St Athans, it was an interesting backdrop in which to shoot. luckily i even managed to go and see the show last week and it was fantastic. one of the most interesting parts of shooting the rehearsal period was being allowed to “sit in” on the work of RSC voice director Michael Corbridge as he worked with the actors in the early stages of production. i’d never been in sessions like that before and it was very enlightening watching the process of bringing text off the page.
the third shoot was with Theatr Genedlaethol for their production of the tempest, Y Storm, which was also a part of the World Shakespeare Festival. though i did managed to grab a few shots of rehearsals, my main role for this was taking cast portraits. it was enjoyable as they were shot in quite an unusual way, very much attempting to recreate the feeling of a spotlight. for anyone who’s interested in the technical side of things, this was quite simple to achieve with my portable Quadra lighting kit. all i had to do was pop a 7” reflector on the front and and nice narrow honeycomb grid on it (10degrees) up high, and instant spotlight. they were shot against black, so not the sort of lighting set up that i get to play with that often in my portraiture work. there are just one or two more performances of Coriolan/us to go, but Y Storm is going on tour, and you can find out more about each production via the links below.