A bit of breathing space

I've been meaning to get back onto regular blogging since I set this new website up, but all the stuff's been kind of running into the other stuff and there hasn't been a window of opportunity! But, here we are, the first weekend of 2017 that I've had a chance to sit down and rattle off some words. The last few months have thrown some amazing amazing photographic challenges at me; these have included band photography for Leicester's own Great Central Magazine; an amazing performance of Outlaw by The Point Youth Theatre (which also tested my ability to do photography with both sinusitis and conjunctivitis!); promotional photography for Gallops and Rich List (the Gallops photo session requiring 2 days of mask making courtesy of Wintercroft's wonderful low-poly mask templates www.wintercroft.com); and Tetrad Collective's multi disciplinary artist takeover of Attenborough Arts Centre.

Running alongside these and other projects has been the longer form documentation of Sleuth, a play by Anthony Shaffer, that opened at the Little Theatre in Leicester on the 6th February. I was asked by director Edward Spence to document the production process from the first reading through to the final dress rehearsal. Having previously worked with Ed to document his productions Butley (again at the Little Theatre) and The Finest Ruin (performed at Leicester's Y Theatre), I absolutely leapt at the opportunity.

The process kicked off in September 2016 with the first cast reading at Leicester's Phoenix, it was apparent that the darkly comic and cynically twisted source material was really going to give the cast of Jaz Cox and Kenton Hall something to get their teeth into; therefore making for an excellent documentary photography subject. So it progressed through the Christmas period, with each visit to the rehearsal studio yielding excellent opportunities to capture images of the play throughout it's development. The trust shown in me by the director, actors and wider production team was both invaluable and hugely appreciated; as it gave me the chance to build up a genuine document of the work in progress.

By late January the production moved to the main house, where a wonderful set had been designed and built by Lynsey Brecknell and Anna Field; having spoken with Ed about the set late last year, it was fantastic to see such grand designs come to fruition. The final set featured a prominent photo of the character Andrew Wyke over the mantelpiece, this was a photograph shot during the rehearsal process, it was great to have physically contributed something to the production itself. Once the production hit the main house I was able to photograph the two tech rehearsals and the final dress rehearsal, as well as being a rare chance to work with a full main house production it was fascinating to see how the work had evolved from the first reading in the Phoenix's basement studio into such an uncompromising tour de force of a production that really was a huge credit to the whole production team and a testament to the tireless hard work and dedication to everyone involved.

From a developmental point of view it really reinforced that this is the sort of documentary photography work that I'd love to do more of; being able to follow projects as they grow and evolve through the developmental process; this method of working really seems to suit my unobtrusive style of photography. So a huge thank you to everyone involved, it was a pleasure to be a small part of such an excellent production; onwards to the next project!