Theater process documentation, some thoughts

Performance documentation comes in many forms, I’m always a huge fan of using photography to tell a story.  There is a magic that still images bring to documenting a long-term project.  As the photographer you imbue them with a certain meaning, but anyone else looking at the images will bring their own feelings and thoughts to to them as well.

I had the chance to document the musical Dead Awaken from rehearsal and inception all the way through to production.  The images that came out illustrate the movement through space, and transformation from actor to character.  The full photo essay can be found online at Exposure.co, but I wanted to share a few images and excerpts here too.

To me, there is something really powerful and useful about looking at process documentation.  Having images that tell the story of your project from start to finish not only lets others enter into the experience of making new work, but it gives you as the artist visual markers and reminders of what you did, and how you did it.  These kinds of images are useful, not just for immediate purposes on big productions, but even images captured at small workshops can be useful years down the line when you are coming back to a work in progress.

Excerpt from the essay:

“The cast and crew moved into the space a few weeks before opening. I think that as soon as a production moves into it’s final space the stakes get higher. All of a sudden the world of the designer and the world of the actor smash together. Hopefully the set works, hopefully the lights are programmed correctly, hopefully the sound mixer has run all the right cables. There is a mixed excitement in seeing characters come to life, even if everyone isn’t off book yet.”

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