Last year I made several trips to the Greenwood Theatre near London Bridge on behalf of the theatre and its manager, who is a friend of mine, to take some photographs to end up on display on the walls. It proved pretty successful and the images look great on the walls of the main foyer. However, I had also hoped it would bring in requests from groups using the theatre for me to go along and shoot for them as well, but it didn’t. Until March, that is, when I was quite unexpectedly asked back to the theatre by the Dance Society, who were one of the groups I photographed last year. Not only did they want me back, they were prepared to pay me for the privilege. Obviously all my images on the walls had impressed somebody.
Unlike all of my previous trips to the Greenwood, this time I wouldn’t be attending a dress rehearsal, but an actual show; opening night, to be precise, giving me the whole new experience of running around shooting with a paying audience to not interrupt.
Much like the last time, I decided to shoot in manual, eliminating the variable of the rapidly changing light you often see at shows like this. In fact, I actually reread my post about my trip to last year’s dance show for pointers. This time, I had the advantage of my 24-105mm f/4 lens that boasts a constant aperture, so I wasn’t facing a changing aperture whenever I zoomed in.
All told I delivered over 500 images for the Dance Society, in order to give them a nice big selection of images and get as many of their dancers in photographs as possible. It would be wholly tiresome to bring you all 500 images so I’ve selected my favourites to show you.
The title of this year’s show was Director’s Cut; all of the dances had some sort of connection to a a particular movie or genre. There was also a ‘director’ who kept showing up following the tale of him attempting to make a movie (largely unsuccessfully, something which can’t be said to be not at least partially his fault).
As ever, there was all sorts of dancing on display.
For whatever reason, I seem to have shot predominantly in portrait in this show. It wasn’t a conscious choice, it just appears that most of the shots to be had worked better in portrait. They weren’t all that way, obviously.
After a handful of misfires last year, I was quite keen to get a few more action shots this time out. I was more successful this time.
It wasn’t just action I captured, but sudden bouts of existential angst (or possibly acting).
Being a bit of an old hand at shooting the Greenwood I also resorted to a few of my old tropes, such as ensuring to get the lights in shot (and occasional stylistic monochroming).
I’m really quite pleased with how the monochrome images have come out.
Far from the monochrome images above, this Bollywood-esque dance number was an explosion of colour (urgh, can’t believe I just said that).
One of the things I really love about shooting the Dance Show is the lighting. It allows me to get some really interesting shots that I’m not sure I’d have created myself.
As we approached the interval the ‘director’ wasn’t getting any cheerier.
Like last year, the multitude of dance styles on show included breakdancing. I’d brought my GorillaPod with me in expectation of such a thing, but it was impractical to set in up with the quick pacing of the show. I was still mentally prepared, and knew to rest my camera on the stage when the time was right.
The next number was very brightly lit, which as a photographer is almost always nice.
I didn’t do too badly at getting some of the money shots of the group finales.
One of my favourite shots of the whole show was this next one, for no tangible reason I can put my finger on.
Although, this one has its charm, for slightly different reasons.
This next one is also a favourite. And not just because it involves bottoms.
Did I say just? I meant at all.
People with bums have faces too.
This next shot isn’t a composite, it’s three girls jumping in a sequence. But I really love the way it looks like the same dancer in three stages of flight.
And as you’d expect, I closed out with the obligatory group shot.
I loved shooting this show. I was worried beforehand that the added pressure of a paying client would stress me out too much, but as soon as the action started I was in the zone and shooting away happily, and I’m really pleased with the results.
The full set of images have already hit the Dance Society’s Facebook page so I spent a little while looking through the comments on there for a little ego boost. I’ll also be uploading them to my Flickr page (they might even already be there by the time you read this).
This experience has finally given me a boost in confidence to start more actively promoting myself as a photographer at the Greenwood, and I’m already working on a dedicated webpage and some fliers to try to court some more work like this.
—————————————————————————————————————-Dance Show 2013
All’s Well That Ends Well