Just revisiting a favorite image taken with a Sony a77.

Jill in Xanadu. Zach Scott Theatre.

Stage lighting only.

And a few more from the same show.

 all images photographed with the Sony a77 and the 70-200mm f2.8 G lens. 
All lighting from the stage lights.


  1. Kirk, it would have been interested to state WHY this is one favorite picture of yours ? Personally it hurts my eyes. The skinny simian like muscle tone, the cut off hand on the lft handside the parasite lighter colored streak (light or actual item ?) in the otherwise black background, the rather unflattering body pose... If I had to guess why would like it I would venture you're please wiht the lightning ? So it would be a technological satisfaction, over an aesthetic one ? I hope you don't mind me criticizing, I usually go ahh an ooh on your pics, but this one just leaves me scratching my head. Am I artistically too prmitive, do I need lot of the usual pixie dust kicked in my eyes to see beauty ?

    1. Dunno what Kirk would say, but bear in mind that it's a photo from a theatrical performance.

      Sometimes an image made from a moment out of something that really only happens in the flow of time, like a theatrical performance, gets at something that's more than the "rules" of what makes a "good" photo. What I see here is a performer completely absorbed in what she's doing, utterly unconscious of her "self" and given over completely to the moment of performance. The slight strangeness and awkwardness of this character in this moment aren't flaws in what she's doing, they're its essence; as someone who trains 18-23 year old actors to think about and do theatre I can tell you it's a real challenge to get young people to come to grips with the fact that sometimes what a character or a moment on stage need aren't "beauty" or "your best self" or "how you'd like to be seen" but just the opposite. If you put a lot of attractive young female performers in that costume they'd spend a whole show preening and striking self-conscious poses out of an American Apparel bill-board, especially when there's a photographer in the house; this performer so isn't doing that and I find the images compelling for that reason, among others.

      If you're judging this as a portrait, or a glamour shot, or an example of posing or lighting (other than the art of lighting design for the stage, which is not remotely the same thing as lighting a portrait) I'd suggest you're kinda missing the point - this moment hasn't been composed, it's been captured. Maybe some familiarity with the medium that's been captured is required to see it that way, though?

    2. Hmmmm. I like everything about it. The gesture the body position and the fact that the right hand (which is inside the frame) seems to be pushing on the formal barrier that is the edge of the frame. I like the humor of cradling the skate in her left arm as well. The only thing that distracts me is the light colored object behind her but when present the image as something more than a quick web reference it will be easy to remove.

      Realistically, we can't all like everything the same and respect your opinion. No amount of pixie dust will change those aesthetic differences of opinion and that's how it should be.

  2. Hi Kirk:

    I think these are great images. Yes, that first image, the hand looks like it is pushing out on the boundary of the frame - very interesting in my eyes. Stage lighting is tragically unforgiving a lot of the times, and I've shot my share of stage photography...IMHO, you had some good colorful stage lighting to work with and it looks appealing in your shots. In most stage photography circumstances, we have to work with what we are provided with, and do the best we can. I love the look of this performer - beautiful and expressive.

    By the way...I just listened to your interview on The Candid Frame: it is one of the most useful interviews on The Candid Frame that I've had the opportunity to listen to.




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