My youngest daughter was very involved in the performing arts during her high school years. As parents do, my wife and I volunteered and supported the drama boosters. While most of my experience was in portrait, sports and family photography, this opportunity allowed me to learn everything I ever wanted to know about theatre photography. What I found out was that this area of photography is not for the faint of heart.
I spent many hours studying, talking to experts in user groups and pushing myself during dress rehearsals. Theaters present a challenging lighting environment due to the constant battle between colored stage lighting, spotlights, intentional darkness and the movement of the performer through all of the above. As a photographer, nothing is static. Your exposure triangle is in constant motion, as are your choices of focus points and framing. Each performance was a three hour adrenaline rush.
Knowing that you are on the hook to capture a moment that has been rehearsed by a performer dozens of times is much like catching that once-in-a-lifetime jump shot or tackle. You might only get one chance to get it right. But when you do, you can’t wait for them to see it.
I feel so fortunate to have photographed so many amazing young performers. They allowed me into their “house” and gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a new skill, while I had the opportunity to witness their finest moments on stage.
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ― Oscar Wilde