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"Bring on the Men"

Jul 10, 2023

It took watching a documentary about music and performance photography (mostly from the film days) to put my performance work with Rogue Swan and the Haflas into perspective. I’m never quite satisfied with most of my results – well, duh. I have no control over the subject whatsoever, and no say in the lighting. It’s almost as if I’m trying to extricate a fine-art b&w image from a low quality video – my having the one advantage of trying to catch that moment with a little more control over timing and equipment. Seeing celebrated images that suffer from many of the same issues I find I must be content with, helps. This is not the controlled photography of my tripod work.

Oddly though, with those few, occasional times everything seems to fall in place and I end up with an image that I deem problem free – I can’t get it out of my head that it looks too much like I set it up and posed it in controlled lighting – then Nan just wants to hit me. That would be the intro shot here, if it weren’t for the fan on the stage. Complete control doesn’t happen even with the portraits of these performers, let alone on stage. This posting of “Bring on the Men” from Rogue Swan Invades the UK brought a lot of this home to me. So many exposures/shots that I love and want to work up – so darn many of the issues that plague the process. 

It helps to take lots of exposures, taking advantage of the players being so used to me being there that I'm invisible (making sure at all times that you don’t get tripped over). Then the torturous narrowing down image choices followed by an insane level of fix-its. Example: I selected an image where one of the gentlemen was, inexplicably, without the very much needed hat – I spend a half hour Saturday moving it from another image, putting it back on his head, rotating it slightly and correcting any damage I did in the process. Only then could I begin work on the rest of it. And this image was no more difficult or time-consuming than the average.

I wound up with more images from “Bring on the Men” – KT and the troupe’s big number ending the first act – than I planned. This posting fratures those from dress-rehearsal, where I could work with a shorter lens at angles I chose. There were some difficult choices here, as well as humongous lighting issues from lack of good illumination on Katie in the front – an issue to be, unfortuately, repeated during the performance (those four images will be in the next posting).

Many of those for today are shown a little smaller here, but are full size in the Rogue Swan Invades the UK Folio HERE