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Rehearsing All Dressed Up

Last year I told you that I was hoping to take some photos of the play August: Osage County at Heidelberg Theatre Company.  Well, I got to take some, but I didn’t get to take photos of the rehearsals and show you the play developing, I was told that I wasn’t needed, or something like that, whenever I asked.  This post is very hard to write, I’m afraid.

sc20130428-0466It is a massive play and the set is huge.  It was also, from the ones I’ve shot last year, the hardest play to photograph as I had no idea what was happening.  I have seen the play before, but it was a few years ago.  I never remember them that well, so I missed so much stuff because I didn’t know it was happening or where on stage.  It is probably the worst experience I’ve had photographing a play for that reason.

sc20130428-0176It is a good play, don’t get me wrong, I love it, and I know quite a few of you out there feel the same about it.  It has a strong cast and regardless of my feelings about photographing it, it is well worth seeing.  

sc20130428-0188Like I said the set is massive and takes up the whole stage, I don’t know how many other theatre companies would be able to stage such a massive play.  

Here are a heap of photos that I have processed for you, there are a lot I’m afraid.  

I am still trying to work out how to do these galleries and the photos are sort of backwards.  

Apparently there are still tickets available so if you go to the Heidelberg Theatre Company website you can book tickets online.  The play starts this Thursday.

I’m not sure what happened with this play and I think it will be my last play with Heidelberg.  I know they wanted me to do this so I could advertise the play for them, but I do feel a bit used.  I am quite hurt by the whole experience. So I will do it this time, but it won’t happen again.  I was really upset when I was there the other night and it seems quite obvious they don’t want me around, except when it suits them.  I could be wrong, but I can’t keep letting this happen.  So I know some of you enjoy the plays when I do them, but for now they will stop, unless I can find another theatre company who will let me do this.  

57 Comments
  1. These are good. I like the way the set has certain areas that are open and incomplete. It’s more like installation art than an actual, real-life place. There’s something cool (and kind of spooky) about that.

    April 30, 2013
  2. Good call Leanne. You are a professional photographer and artist just like that Theatre Company and have to be respected for your tradecraft and chosen profession – and your requirements to do the best job possible. Even though you didn’t have a good time, I love the light and capture of the actor expressions. This is something that I always struggle with (let alone on an engagement), so good job.

    April 30, 2013
    • Yes, there does come a point where I have to say enough. I don’t get paid for it, which makes me an even bigger mug. I do like doing photos like this though, I love the drama of it, really appeals to me. Thanks

      April 30, 2013
  3. Ted Ryan #

    Yeah well they can get out and walk. Mallee people shouldn’t put up with that sort of thing – nor should other people for that matter. Hopefully your project will get approved and you’ll be too busy to even think of them.

    April 30, 2013
    • Thank you Ted, lovely to hear from you, and yes you are absolutely correct, and I really hope so, that would be fantastic.

      April 30, 2013
  4. If there is a lack of co-operation then withdraw. You should not have to climb over barriers to carry out the project.

    April 30, 2013
    • I think you are right, thank you.

      April 30, 2013
  5. Sorry to hear about your upsetting experience Leanne, it’s no consolation but these kind of things sometimes happen if you put yourself out there and try to do good things, and you certainly do that. I’m sure the great experiences outweigh the bad because what you do is so good.

    April 30, 2013
    • Unfortunately for me, it has happened so many times with this place, perhaps I’m just not getting the hint, it is time to back away, and really learn the lesson.
      The great experiences do and I know that there are places that appreciate what I do, so that is good. Thank you

      April 30, 2013
  6. You’d think it would have been in their best interests to have you involved from the start, in order for you to be able to capture the absolute best shots for their publicity…but I can hazard a guess as to why they didn’t grant access.
    I do am dram, and our rehearsals look nothing like the final product. Anything but. We’re not in costume for one, which always makes the shots look stupid because you can’t get a feel for the scene if someone is wearing jeans at a funeral (for instance). We forget our lines, or where we’re supposed to be standing. We joke around when the table collapses. The director gets into shot as he pushes us into a completely different position three weeks before opening night. We don’t even rehearse on the stage with my group (and others I’ve been part of; rehearsals take place in a smaller hall as you can’t take over the theatre until show week). There’s no set. Half the props are missing. It’s not a REAL performance and, to be honest, it looks nothing like the finished product will. To some people (the people who want to pull an audience in for big money), it’s not good promotion. They want a photographer at the technical and dress rehearsals only; when it’s onstage, full costume and lights so it looks fantastic, rather than amateur.
    What I’m trying to say is, it’s nothing personal. I hate to read about someone getting upset over something like this. I know how hard it is when you want something to be perfect and it’s not, but your shots are fantastic. They’re exactly what the theatre company would be looking for to promote the show this week. They’re maybe not exactly what you want as their photographer, but that’s the only problem with them. And if you’re doing this sort of thing for fun, then pick a new project where you DO get to do exactly what you want. There’s no point in you getting upset over something you had no control over. Be happy with what you did for them and move on.

    April 30, 2013
    • What I was upset about, was not so much that I didn’t get perfect shots, it was that I feel like the only reason I was asked to do it at all is because ticket sales haven’t been great and they want to use my blog and facebook page to advertise it. I had thought I would get to watch the play develop as I had for other plays, but when I tried to find out about those rehearsals, I kept getting told that they weren’t ready for me. They have asked another person to be their photographer and he has been doing it, but he can’t get the publicity that they think I can, so I was asked on Saturday if I could photograph the dress rehearsal on Sunday night. As it turned out it was just a practice run and the real dress rehearsal was on Monday night when they weren’t so tired. That is when the other photographer would have got to photograph it.
      There is a lot of history here, the other photographer finished up last year, and the new photographer was appointed, I didn’t want the job, but it would have been nice to have been considered, or even asked. They don’t want me, I think that is it totally. It is so heartbreaking really, I’ve been involved on and off for 14 years, and I still get crap like this. I need to learn something and stay away.

      Glad you liked the photos, thank you

      April 30, 2013
  7. poppytump #

    Sounds like they ‘re the ones to lose out Leanne . Ditch them .
    Great work here … shows how much a super multi talented a photographer you are . Fact .
    🙂

    April 30, 2013
    • One of the things I have always liked about blogging is the wonderful support you get from everyone. Thank you, I think ditching them is most definitely the way to go.

      April 30, 2013
      • Agreed. I’m surprised you would be treated this way. It doesn’t feel good to feel used. I’m glad you are choosing to reject that. You do your blog from the right place, as a gift, and that is why it is successful, that and because of the quality. People who want to “use your blog” are not in alignment with you. If you know what I mean, not sure how to express it.

        The photos are really interesting, though.

        May 1, 2013
      • Thank you Nia, I think I know what you mean. It is disappointing when something like this happens, and I won’t let them use me like this again. I don’t mind people wanting me to do things for them, if it is a good experience, but I don’t like it that they think they can just use it for themselves and try me this way. It has to be a pleasant experience.
        The photos are interesting, it is shame, really all this, because the play is really really good.

        May 1, 2013
      • poppytump #

        🙂 you’re welcome Leanne . I am constantly awed by how supportive people are in one’s endeavours in whatever one cares to blog about . It’s grand 🙂
        Oh yes and do ditch them . asap .

        May 1, 2013
      • Thank you Poppytump, I love the blog world. Yes, consider them ditched.

        May 1, 2013
  8. Ditch them. Good grief, it’s their loss!

    April 30, 2013
  9. Sigh. Sorry for your negative experience. I had a difficult time clicking “like” on this one, but of course, your photos win out over the bad experience. Chin up, lovely!

    April 30, 2013
    • It hasn’t been great, made more so because it isn’t the first time I have felt like this from this place, and it won’t be the last if I don’t stop going. I do love the theatre and the people, so it is a shame.

      Now don’t get me wrong it is a great play and the production is very good.

      May 1, 2013
  10. you are a profession photographer who does brilliant work…to be treated with such disrespect is disheartening…I would do the same thing, move on…you don’t need, nor do you deserve such negativity in your life…

    May 1, 2013
    • Thank you Heather, that is a great way of putting, it really is time to move on.

      May 1, 2013
  11. these are fantastic! This had to be fun to shoot 🙂 ~Scott

    May 1, 2013
    • Should’ve been, but was a bit annoying because I missed stuff because I didn’t know what was happening or when. That stage is huge and it wasn’t easy to just point the camera in a different direction. But I am glad you enjoyed the photos.

      May 1, 2013
  12. I love photographing performances, dress rehearsals and actual live performances. Whether it’s a Mozart opera or a minimal modern production, the people at their art are made for good photo opportunities.

    May 1, 2013
  13. Palimpsest #

    I find it astonishing that a group of artists can treat a fellow artist in such a way. They will live to regret it, I’m sure, and you have much better things to do with your precious time. The photos are fab, too, and would make me want to go and see the play very much if they treated people fairly.

    May 1, 2013
    • There is something about Amateur Theatre and the actors, I don’t understand it, but unless you are invaluable you tend to get treated badly. I have, over the 14 years I’ve been involved, seen so many people come and go. It is really astonishing. I should have stayed away, but I know I won’t make that mistake again. The play is very good and people should go and see it, you don’t have to put up with the politics of a place just to see the play.

      May 1, 2013
  14. I would find photographing this tricky. The lighting/lack of & then trying to move around & not interfere with the play or distract the audience. I think you captured some pretty good shots here.

    May 1, 2013
    • I just turn the ISO up as high as it will go and, I have really good lenses now so I can use an aperture of 2.8 and that seems fine, I could probably get faster if I used a tripod, but I find the tripod a bit cumbersome for something like this. Luckily there is no audience, so I didn’t have to worry about that, but there was someone running around videoing it, which was extremely annoying. Thank you RoSy, you should try it sometime.

      May 1, 2013
  15. I was happy to see you doing theater pictures again! But then I read it and it made me sad. It’s not fair when people use you, I’m sorry that had to happen :/ but they are great pictures!

    May 1, 2013
    • Thank you Amanda, it is horrible when that happens, I am sure it won’t happen again.

      May 1, 2013
      • I just hope that someday you can find a place that respects you and treasures your talent 🙂

        May 1, 2013
      • I think I have found other places now, I do like photographing theatre, so I might have to send word out. 🙂

        May 1, 2013
  16. Theater is a such treacherous business, and actually amateur theater more so than the pros. I would bet my life that it’s not the actors – as artists, I know they would appreciate you. They just want to act – they have no power at all.
    It’s that whole dreadful social elitism that’s associated with raising money.
    Too bad for them! If I were you, I’d find some poor street theater kids doing stuff on a shoe string and shower them with pubicity – ha! You’d make a great social point, get great shots and get your well-deserved revenge.
    Plus, you’d get APPRECIATED!

    May 1, 2013
    • Oh I quite like that idea, very interesting. Though I think for now I might concentrate on some other things. Maybe just take photos of other things and see what happens. Thanks for the ideas Claire, but more importantly thanks for the support.

      May 1, 2013
  17. A bit of culture never harm us … great shots – what ever you put your camera against … comes out so good. The photo with the lady and wine glass .. I think is the best of the this great bunch … and the top one.

    May 1, 2013
    • Thanks Viveka, it is a lot fun photographing theatre.

      May 1, 2013
  18. Their loss is your gain, Leanne…no more stress from manipulators!

    The shots are all quite good, excellently processed and they should have given you a stipend! Sad to say, I hate people such as these, and walk away, as I don’t need ‘garbage’ in my life! (I’ve done it, also!). There will always be ‘schmucks’ like this, who want “Broadway glitz” on a small-town theatre (lack of) budget!

    Be content that you took great shots, and move on to photographing the things that have meaning to you and you are comfortable with.

    May 1, 2013
    • Well after my latest post they won’t be asking me back again. I think that is probably why I did it, if I annoy them enough then they won’t want me there and I won’t be tempted to go back. I really like the woman who asked me though, and it is such a shame that “she” did that. Though everyone I know that I have asked about this and have all said the same thing, it was horrible of them to do that to me. If they want to use me like that then they should let me get something out of the experience, like photographing the play as I wanted to, through the whole process. Just crap really, and I am still upset about it.

      May 2, 2013
      • My reply just disappeared!

        Let them be, for your own sanity, because what goes around comes around, eventually, with people like that.

        Continue your ‘quest’ for the perfect image–which you’re already doing quite well at, I must say!

        May 2, 2013
      • WordPress have changed this again.
        That is very good advice and I will do that. I just move on, I think that is always best. Thank you.

        May 2, 2013
      • Wonder why WP keeps playing around, or are they just so ‘glitchy’…or bored?

        Moving on to better challenges always seems to help me, Leanne…and because I have such mixed nationalities, I also have a fierce temper…so I walk away, as that’s what’s best for ME, and my mental health is just as important these days as the physical…turning 67 on the 3rd is not something I’d ever thought I’d reach, but I sure have had to ‘mellow’ during the past year!

        May 3, 2013
      • is that the 3rd of this month, I will have to remember, what am I saying it is the 3rd now, maybe not where you are, but happy birthday.
        I have a fierce temper as well, I have a short fuse, but I do get over it quickly. I am just upset about it still, but I know with time I will get over it. It is just so disappointing.
        I don’t know what they problem with WP is, they seem to need to keep fiddling with stuff. It is aggravating. Just as you get used to something,they change it again.

        May 3, 2013
  19. The concept and shots are great but it’s not worth doing if it makes you unhappy. There’s a gallery setting for reversing the order and in gallery you can also move the images.

    May 2, 2013
    • I have to agree, thanks for the information about the gallery, I knew I could change the order, it is not easy though, but I didn’t know you could reverse them, so thank you.

      May 2, 2013
  20. I think you are a better person than I, I would have told them to go suck eggs a long time ago and certainly not given them use of the photos.

    May 2, 2013
    • Yes, that is really a problem I have, I am too nice and I hate upsetting people if I can help it. Not great for a person who wants to be in business.

      May 2, 2013
      • Well, it is good business to make a genuine effort to please people and to be true to your word. Your reputation is incredibly important but I think you can walk away from a bad deal too. If they treat you badly, they have also treated other people badly and will continue to do so. The word will spread about them and eventually they will fail, then try to blame all of the people they treated badly.

        May 2, 2013
      • I think you are right on all counts Robert, it is time I left and stayed away. They have done similar things to other people as well, so I am not the first and I know I won’t be the last.

        May 2, 2013
  21. These are wonderful photographs. You did a fantastic job. Chalk it up to experience, smile and walk away. 🙂

    May 4, 2013
    • Thank you George, Yes, it was an experience, and I definitely need to walk away. 🙂

      May 4, 2013

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