Category Archives: Stage Photography

Working With Retune

I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with mental health organisation Retune, providing promotional material including live music photography, branding-in-use and headshots .

Retune was founded by musician and journalist Tom Ryder, who faced mental health difficulties in his early twenties, and music has always been his greatest respite.

Retune harnesses the power of live music to promote wellbeing and mindfulness.  Exploring the strong link between creativity and mental health, Retune provides a safe space with no judgement to increase confidence and resilience for our community.

Director & chair of Retune, Greg Camburn, says on the website: “I have always been acutely aware of the connection between mental wellbeing, creativity and music. I am incredibly proud of Tom and the team for creating a fabulous, non-profit organisation that I am certain will go on to assist a great many people”

Greg and Tom are also assisted by Fionnuala Shakespeare, the organisation’s director of funding, and sound engineer Tom Rowntree.

Retune put on regular shows at The Half Moon in Bishop’s Stortford and have featured a range of artists including Didi, Sabrina Francis, The Kazans, Vertaal, Wardnparker and Alex Bayly.

The next event is an all-dayer on Sunday 2nd June 2019 featuring an open mic, comedy and a very special headliner.

Festival of Literature

In February I covered a number of events for the 2019 Festival Of Literature at Bishop’s Stortford College.

The festival featured a busy schedule of talks and workshops by authors and illustrators,  aimed primarily at children and young people.  However, there were also events open to the public, with some of the speakers taking part inboth events for the children and evening appearances for adult audiences.

Illustrator Nick Schon draws for a class of pre-prep pupils

Many of the public events took place in the school’s Ferguson Lecture Theatre, whilst the childrens’ events took place in the prep school and pre-prep school halls.

Chris Riddell discusses his work with children from local schools

Stage photography is one of my core skills so these events were familiar work for me – performers working with an audience. However, unlike most stage work, there was no dedicated lighting in the school halls and the talks were lit simply by fluorescent lighting.

Robin Ince gave a hilarious 2 hour talk to the public

The speakers were aimed at a range of ages from very young children just starting out in education, through teenagers, to adults who attended the public events.

Childrens’ authors and illustrators such as Jackie Morris & James Mayhew, Sarah Macintyre, Chris Riddell and Nick Schon entertained the younger children, whilst Radio 4 presenter and comedian Robin Ince and art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon engaged the adults.

Debs Newbold talked to prep school students about Shakespeare

Actress and performer Debs Newbold gave life to the characters of Shakespeare in a talk to students in the prep school hall.

Author and illustrator Sarah MacIntyre spoke to younger students about her illustration work

This was a great series of events to be a part of and I enjoyed covering all these events for the college.

The Festival of Literature was supported by the Bishops Stortford Independent local newspaper.

Six Days : Three Stage Plays

I recently had a high concentration of stage plays to photograph in a single week. I typically photograph around 15-20 productions a year, plus promotional work, but recently had to shoot three productions for three companies in the space of six days, at theatres in Hertford and Potters Bar.

Nell Gwynn, performed by Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society at Hertford Theatre
Our Man In Havana, presented by The Company Of Players at The Little Theatre, Bengeo
Chess, performed by Potters Bar Theatre Company at Wyllyotts Theatre

Rhythms Of The World

I regularly cover a number of local music festivals, the largest of which is Rhythms Of The World.  The event takes place at Hitchin Priory and has a capacity of 30,000.

Rhythms Of The World

There are six stages covering a range of musical genres, including the BBC Introducing stage, which together with the Icehouse Stage features the cream, of regional talent.

Amber Run on the BBC Introducing Stage at ROTW 2015
Amber Run on the BBC Introducing Stage

The Main Stage is where the headline acts play whilst the St.Mary’s Stage is focused more on folk and World Music,

The Brand New Heavies on the Main Stage

One of the biggest challenges is the sheer size of the event – two days covering 19 acres is a lot of legwork.

Sukhi Ryatt on the St.Mary's Stage at ROTW 2015
Sukhi Ryatt on the St.Mary’s Stage

Continue reading Rhythms Of The World

Oxford Fireworks: JackFM Stage

Probably the last outdoor live music event I’ll cover this year – the JackFM stage at this year’s Oxford Fireworks display at South Park, Oxford, an annual event run by the local Rotary Club.

The stage featured five live acts, including the house band for the evening – Schrodinger’s Strings – an outfit I’ve photographed on a number of occasions.

Thankfully it was a mild evening for the time of year and the forecast downpours cleared before any of the performers took to the stage, so the only real issue was the mud!

Frankenstein’s Lobster
Frankenstein’s Lobster
Owen Paul
Schrodinger’s Strings
Schrodinger’s Strings
Eddie Brown- Schrodinger’s Strings
Fireworks
Balloon Ascents
Balloon Ascents
In The Pink A Capella
In The Pink A Capella

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

One of my oldest clients is Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society and every year I’m delighted to be asked to photograph their youth group’s annual production at Hertford Theatre.

This year’s production was The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and featured a cast of around 40, together with a supporting adult crew of technicians, make-up artists, chaperones and front of house staff.

Shooting takes place during the final dress rehearsal, which typically runs in real time, stopping only for serious technical issues.

The photographs are taken from the auditorium – anywhere from the back of the raked seating right up to the front of the stage.

As with all theatrical productions I never use flash. Stage lighting is more than adequate and a lot of work goes in to putting together a lighting plot that adds visual drama to the production.

Susan, Aslan and Lucy
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Tumnus and Lucy

Continue reading The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Amici Cantate

Founded in 2005, Amici Cantate is a Bishop’s Stortford based choir who perform a wide range of material from all parts of the world. Their most recent concert was a performance of Zimbe!, a 40 minute fusion of traditional African song and jazz by Alexander L’Estrange. I was asked to cover the event by the choir’s Musical Director, John Tripp.

The concert took place in Bishop’s Stortford Baptist Church, a modern building that has more in common with a conference centre than a house of worship. I visited the church beforehand to get an idea of the space and lighting, something I always try and do before such events. I was a little concerned about the lighting (churches aren’t often generously lit) but I was pleased that the choir brought their own additional floodlighting for the event. The venue also featured a gallery, which allowed a good view of the performers.

Photo of choir performing

The choir themselves were thoughtfully decked out in simple bright colours, whilst the junior singers wore all black.

Tickets for the event sold quickly at the church was nearly full to capacity, limiting the available angles somewhat. When photographing public performances I try to be as discreet as possible – the event is for the public’s enjoyment, not mine – so I try to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Photo of choir

I took many of the shots from the back of the auditorium using a 70-300mm telephoto lens in Aperture Priority mode with the aperture around f5. Speed was set to ISO1600. Other shots were taken from the gallery and wings.

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Following the event I created a slideshow in the client area of my website so that members of the choir could view the photos. I also provided information about how to order prints or photo CDs.

If you’re interested in having an event photographed and would like more information about the services I can offer, just fill in the contact form on my website.

Stortford Music Festival

I cover a number of music festivals during the season but most are around the middle or end of Summer, so it was great to be able to cover the Stortford Music Festival over the Mayday bank holiday this year.

The two-day event took place on St.Mary’s School field in Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford and featured three stages, a beer tent, children’s entertainment and the usual selection of festival stalls selling vintage clothes, jewellery, sunglasses, airbrushed tattoos, hair braiding, face painting and more.

As with all festivals I make a point of photographing not only the performers, but the fans, traders, stewards and everyone and everything that makes a successful festival what it is.

Events like these are of course great places to meet people and I always make sure I have an adequate supply of business cards (I come away with as many as I give away).

I always post my festival photos on Facebook and it’s always gratifying to see how much people appreciate my pictures. I also often post my photos on the artists and traders’ own Facebook pages. Links to the Facebook galleries are below.

Stortford Music Festival Day 1
Stortford Music Festival Day 2

It’s Panto Time

This year’s pantomime at Hertford Theatre was Sleeping Beauty, presented by Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society.

I’m no particular fan of pantomime as entertainment but as photographic material it’s marvellous! Lots of bright colours, animated characters, comedy expressions and plenty of light!

Photo of policeman and dame

I do a lot of work for HDOS and as well as photographing the shows I also provide displays of images during the run so that cast, crew and support staff can order prints and photo CDs of the production. These can either be collected later from The Society’s HQ or delivered to the customer’s home.

More photos of the production can be found on Facebook – just click on the link below.

Sleeping Beauty Facebook Gallery

12 Bar Club

I was asked to photograph a small charity gig at the 12 Bar Club in London’s Denmark Street a few weeks back. This was an event to raise money for the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity and featured a number of acoustic acts including Keef Jackman, Chloe Turner, Pat Crilly and Steve Ingrey.

The main performance area is relatively small and lit by a handful of LED PAR lamps, so the conditions were quite challenging. This is where my fast f1.8 lens comes in useful! Despite the subdued lighting I was very pleased with the results I achieved. I’ve posted a slideshow of the event in the galleries section of the website, so just click on the link below to see the shots. I’ve also includee links to the club and charity for anyone who’s interested.

12 Bar Club Slideshow

www.12barclub.com
www.helenrollason.org.uk