Incomplete as of 1/4/19.
I recently had the pleasure of shooting another arts festival at the Esplanade Hotel in St. Kilda. While the last festival I shot went for several weeks and involved multiple shoots, this one - We’re All Going to Die - took place over three nights, and only involved me shooting the opening night.
The challenges I faced during the shoot were similar to the previous festival I shot, but with a few added pressures. Like the other festival, We’re All Going To Die was a series of mini shoots all wrapped into one. The night involved an opening Q&A with the festival’s progenitor, followed by three main performances, and a series of attractions in the atrium of the Espy with attendees could interact with between the main events.On previous nights I had multiple opportunities to shoot each of these events, whereas during this shoot I had 15-20 minutes per performance, with no opportunity for a do-over. Combined with a relatively comprehensive shot list for what was arguably the hardest shoot of the night, the pressure was definitely on.
The above shot features the opening of the festival, which was a Q&A with Stefan Hunt (pictured right). As with most events of this type, the main struggle was with moving around and getting in the position I need to be in to shoot. I’m currently essentially working with two prime lenses - a 56mm (85mm equivalent) and a 23mm (35mm equivalent) - which means I’m forced to move a lot closer to the subjects I'm shooting. I’m conscious that using prime lenses can only improve my skills as a photographer, but sometimes it is nice to have the option of hanging back with a 70-200 and shooting to my heart’s content.
Regardless, I overcame my hesitation to get in the way of patrons, and used the space at the front of the stage to shoot. It’s probably pretty obvious, but the main shot I wanted to get was a wide one of Stefan and the interviewer, with the “We’re All Going to Die” text clearly visible in the background. I think I achieved this. Also, while I included some colour versions of this shot in the final image set I delivered, I feel that the black and white vibe lends itself well to this type of event.
Next up was a life drawing class. This was easily the hardest shoot of the night, due in large part to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. I was doing my best to frame all nudity out of the shot, but with limited maneuverability in the room, it proved to be pretty difficult. I still got a few nice shots like this one of the model when everything was over, but it was definitely the weakest shoot.
The Death Meditation was the second main shoot of the night, and the second hardest, largely due to the fairly comprehensive shot list I was given for the event. they
Cover image : Espy Atrium | Fuji X-T2 + XF10-24mm | 1/100sec @ f4 | ISO 5000.