Just My Luck!!!!

Sometimes i just want to curl up in a ball and just rock back and forth because just when i think things are going well life throws a spanner in the works, let me explain.... For the past 3 months i have been doing everything i can to try and get a casting by meeting directors/ producers/ designers/ Casting directors etc... i have been waiting, hunting and begging (well not begging) for a casting and NOTHING, absolute ZILCH!!! All would have been well if i wasn't made redundant from my evening job by two very small minded, petty and IDIOTIC managers. Slowly but surely my finances started to dwindle as i desperately tried to get part time work but no luck. Just when i was about to admit defeat and go back to ushering there was a ray of hope, i was offered a really great job with a really great company and so i jumped at the chance. I figured i will work there for hopefully a year and then see weather i want to cary on a career in that company or if i am HEART AND SOUL an actor by returning to the uncertainty of employment!!!

Now that i am ready and looking forward to starting my new job, i get a call from my agent for 2 really great auditions WHICH I CANNOT MAKE!!!!! this was partially my fault as i had forgotten to update them with my availability, but the timing of it COULDN'T BE WORSE!!! if the first audition was a day EARLIER or the second audition a day LATER it would have been alright but 3 DAMN MONTHS of waiting, hunting and begging (well not begging) AND NOW 2 really great auditions come along and I CANT DO IT without jeopardising my new job (which i have been looking forward to starting for over a month now).

If all of that wasn't enough, i think i may have pissed my agent off with my availability, WHICH IS NEVER A GOOD THING!!!!! I have great respect for my agents because they have been very patient with me and they have been getting me seen for a lot of castings, which is seriously making me think... maybe the reasons i am not getting these castings is cause i am not very good as an actor.

Anywho enough about me ranting and raving, lets talk about these images. The pictures you see are from a production of King Lear at Central School of Speech & Drama, by first and second year students. This is the second time i photographed a production of King Lear and this one was an absolute pleasure to photograph as the director gave me freedom to roam wherever i wanted to and if i had missed something we can photograph it later by getting the actors to re do it. I was very impressed with the production (i have yet to read king lear but i will do so hopefully tonight) and the design aspects of it as well, i think all the people involved in the production have something to be proud of because there were times when i was drawn in by whats going on on stage and i almost forgot i had a job to do.

I hope one day i am back performing on stage again like these young talented performers so until then i wish them all the best with their careers and look forward to hearing about them or seeing them in other productions soon.

Svetlana, The Lancashire Lesbians & The Crack Smoking Rabbi


Yesterday i had the pleasure of photographing a group of very talented performers who will be taking their shows up to the biggest arts festival in the world that is the Edinburgh Fringe. The picture at the top is of a comedy sketch about the Lancashire Lesbian society which is performed by two very talented young actresses, who also are in the second image as the eastern European siamese twin sisters one of which is named Svetlana (i don't know why i felt the need to mention that but i guess i just really like the name ).

There were a couple of straight forward monologues and duologues which were performed very well but unfortunately not very memorable, thats not to say their performance was bad, its just there was a 3 minute extract from possibly a whole play, which when taken out of context, unless it is fantastically written, it can be easily forgotten. One of the other acts that stood out for me was a musician (who's name i don't have yet, will update it if he contacts me) who performed his own original song titled "Bad Bad Rabbi" about a rabbi who liked to indulge in the smoking of a certain white powder which is frowned up on by the Metropolitan Police.

It has been 2 years since i went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and i have been itching to go back up there as it was one of THE BEST MONTHS OF MY LIFE!!!! i was fresh out of university and doing what i loved almost every day for 30 days strait, and if things weren't great enough i was meeting so many interesting people and making friends like i've never known before. To me Edinburgh is a turning point because it forced me to find confidence in myself that i never knew existed as i had to grab the attention of hundreds of people who were passing by on a daily basis and when i did grab their attention i would have to keep it and before Edinburgh i would have cowered at the thought of just grabbing a stranger on the street and starting a conversation with them dressed as a white rabbit (don't get me started on the irony) and trying to convince them to come watch me and my colleagues perform the next morning. The show i was in was of-course Finding Alice, which i absolutely miss as i had a blast working on it with the cast and performing to the families. Till now one of my greatest memories is after we had just finished a show, we held a mad hatter's tea party for the families and one of the kids that saw the show ran up to me and said "Mr Rabbit, (correcting herself) MR, W Rabbit... could i have your autograph" and my immediate thought was, Why do you want my autograph i am WORTHLESS!!! but i didn't say that, i gave her my autograph and she ran to show her brother and mum, and i'll never forget that, Finding Alice was the show that showed me the Fringe Festival so for that i am forever thankful to all who were involved and those that came to watch it.

I now wish all the performers going up (including the cast of The Lesbian Bath House, who are also going up to the fringe) all the best of luck with their shows and i hope they really enjoy what edinburgh has to offer when the sun has set..... cause its ONE HELL OF A PARTY!!!!

Self Discovery?


I love theatre, there is just an amazing attraction i have towards it that i just can't explain, i love the fact it is never the same ever again. I am now at a point where i am really learning and discovering who i am, and i know at least that i want theatre to be a big part of my life in one way or another. I love the relationships and friendships you build with your fellow actors during the rehearsals and the run of the show, and you develop a small family with the people you are performing with, and that is something that i don't want to sacrifice because it has given me many fantastic friends whom i respect and really appreciate. Now i have been more of a photographer than an actor but to me that is still alright because it is another great passion of mine and i love that i get to take pictures of my other passion.

The Pictures you are seeing are from a production of "Richard The Third" at Central School of Speech & Drama, by the second year students most of which i recognised from a previous production i photographed which was fantastic... it was called "The Emperor of The Moon". It was a massive challenge to photograph these talented performers as there was quite a lot of seating in the way so i couldn't move around as much as i would have liked and the lowest i could push my ISO down was 1250 but that was for like 40% of the shots, the rest was either 1600 or the dreaded 3200. I would have never ever thought of shooting at ISO 3200 but with really great glass, full frame sensor & some careful nose reduction you can get a VERY USEABLE image but it must be processed very carefully.

Ow and SHOOT RAW!!!! it will save your ass later on in post processing, it will give you the best results out of your images, yea....yea....yea i know, i know.... its a pain to process as the files are huge but would you rather have the best possible results out of your images and a very happy client, or more time to play on Guitar Hero?

i'll leave you to answer that question....


R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


Ok the title will explain itself as you read on so let me start at the beginning.....

I once again had to grab my trusty Lowe Pro bag with all my gear in it and run to Central School of Speech & Drama, and this time i was helping out a friend of Suzi's who i now consider a friend of mine as well, ow and her name is Rachel. Rachel is a costume/set/ Graphic designer and an all round genius when it comes to the world of art and creativity. I of-course once again unaware of what it is that i have to shoot grab most of the gear i think i will need and turn up to see the challenge set for me and this time there was a good enough challenge. The challenge was the seriously low lighting (i am in no way criticising the lighting design as it really helped set the mood and tone of the production) as theatre photographers know this is an absolute pain that we have to work through. So far the human eye is the most advanced lens out there as it can see detail in extreme contrasts and make out shapes in almost pitch black scenarios, this is somewhat of a very TALL order for modern day DSLRs.

The production was King Lear, now i have never read or seen a production of King Lear but from what i saw i really like it. I love shakespeare (when i can understand it), i love the relationship between the characters, the misunderstandings, the supernatural aspects etc... the list goes on, but it takes me at least 3 reads of the same play to get a good grasp of the story and relationships. The lovely rachel grabbed me from reception and got me in to the performance studio and everything was going fine until i snapped two frames and this really frustrating director motions me over and whispers into my ears (yet still in a commanding tone)

"Your shutter is too loud, Make sure if you are going to take a picture, you know exactly what picture you want to take before you press that button, don't just click randomly!!!"

Now i'm a very easy going person and i like most other normal people out there show respect to other professionals when i am working with them, to me that was a HUGE insult because A) i'm going there to help out, B) I've invested money in to USM lenses as they are virtually silent, there is very little i can do about the camera shutter sound since its a REHEARSAL!!!! not a live performance, so i can't justify spending a tone of money on a camera body noise dampener, and C) I didn't walk over to the actors and tell them what lines to cut, where to stand or who to look at as they are saying specific lines so WHAT gives him the right to tell me "don't just click randomly".... like i just press the button for 2 hours and hope for the best!!! IMBECILE!!!!

Ahh..... sorry about the ranting on, i just needed to vent, Rachel and the other creatives did a fantastic job with the production and i wish i hadn't seen the production through a viewfinder and got the chance to sit among the audience and really enjoy it, but no doubt one day i will hunt down a production of King Lear and hopefully be FRONT ROW for the experience.

Thank you for reading.

The Lesbian Bath House

Yesterday i went to help out a friend of mine with a fashion shoot, i was mainly there to be the assistant and also to advise my friend shall he ask for it or need it. We went to Algate East where the "Studio" was and when we arrived at the time we were told which was 11.30 there was no one to be seen there so after a few phone calls we find out that the client said 11.30 because they didn't want anyone to be late and really wanted to start at 12.00 but annoyingly it was the client that arrived at 12.00, so we decide lets just get on with the day. We finally get in to the studio and..... well.... it was perhaps the WORST ever studio i had seen, it was a disgrace to hold the name STUDIO, there were dirty seamless papers all over the place, wires, props, old broken chairs, and well not a lot of space to work in and oh of course a giant window RIGHT NEXT TO the seamless paper without any way in which to block out the ambient light, and to make matters worse they had ONE trigger for the 5 elinchrome strobes they had which well REFUSED TO FIRE, so i was forced to use my own pocket wizards (which i love by the way) to sort out their idiotic decision to only have one cheap plastic trigger.

After all the technical problems were solved by me and ola we finally started shooting, and we managed to get some really great images for the client and were actually starting to enjoy ourselves. I then had to quickly figure out a way to get the triggers to work because i had to leave to go and take pictures for the poster of my friends new Edinburgh show "The Lesbian Bath House" and i would need all my lighting gear including the pocket wizards. After some technical wizardry and a LOT of luck i managed to get the elinchrom trigger to work. I thanked ola and all the other people involved in that project and quickly made my way to Central School of Speech & Drama where suzi was waiting for
me.

We got in to an experimental lighting room which the students mainly use to work out what things would look like on a scale model before they finalise their designs, and i started to set up my lights, at this point i am a little nervous as i have never shot a large group of people before let alone a large group of gorgeous women, and i get very nervous around gorgeous women as i tend to turn in to a bumbling idiot. After having a talk with suizi and the directors Ben and Nigel i got a good idea of what they were looking for and was quite worried i might not be able to pull it off with just a 430 Exii and a reflective umbrella, but that was all i had so that was what i would have to use!!! The plan was to use the posters of 'THE L WORD" and "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES" as an inspiration and go for something that is sexy, suggestive or seductive but not overly sexy that it looks pornographic.

The ladies all arrived and to my surprise it was actually the very first time they are all meeting each other, and only minutes later they would have to be half naked and all over each other, which made me realise just how brave actors are because we have a very low sense of inhibition and we make friends very easily in a room full of people we have never met. When we finished the ladies and the directors applauded me but i felt that truly it was them that deserved the applause because its not an easy thing to do and they took direction very well and were all very lovely to work with, i am sure their production will be a roaring success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and wish all the cast and crew a very bright and successful future.