Flash Theatricality / Charlotte

I’m not a war photographer, nor a photojournalist, even though I love those two genre’s. Neither am I a digital artist or a whizz with Photoshop. But I do love the unreality, vividness and clarity of theatre. The first play I ever went to see was ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. Seated in the round, in a darkness punctuated by little pinpricks of light, Titania descended asleep in her bower of leaves and ivy, illuminated  by a gentle light. I was dumbstruck. It’s an image I’ve forever wanted to create. So for me, photography and theatre are inextricably linked. I want theatre in my images, a sense of unreality, the feeling that the subject of the photograph say’s “is that really me?”

Being rubbish at Photoshop, means I have to rely on light, artificial light and the technique of overpowering the ambient light with flash, to get something unreal. There will be a hints and tips post on this later, but in the meantime, here is an extreme example taken in bright evening sunlight. Flash allow the photographer to dictate the light and how it exposes the subject. Flash can be obvious, like the above photo, or it can be subtle. For me though, why create a photo that simply looks like real life? I want my portraits to pop, fizz and explode. I want my subjects to say “Wow! Is that really me?”

The photo here is of Charlotte, one of our lovely neighbours. I suspect there will be a lot of fan mail, so I feel I should point out she is soon to be married to burly, cage-fighting, local horse vet Colin. Charlotte is also a bit of a thespian with the local am-dram group, The Duns Players. Theatre it seems is not just in the round, but also comes around.

Am I doing the wedding photos? No way.


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