I went to a modern dance performance Thursday evening. Gesel Mason was preforming on the main stage at the Performing Arts Center at Winona State University. Mason’s performance was excellent using a good mixture of humor and emotion. I was there on behalf of the University Communications Department to take publicity shots from the event.

I sat down in the left front row with my tripod, camera, and wide angle lens…all set to get some great shots. The house lights dim, and a women comes on stage to start the evening. She makes the usual comments about no smoking, no food or drink…etc, and then says “photography is not allowed,” and then pauses…and does a stage look right at me…in front of 200 people.

Well, being singled out in front of 200 people isn’t my favorite thing ever, so said in a stage whisper back to her, “I am here from University Communications,” thinking perhaps she will realize that someone in her department requested my presence.
“I didn’t know about this before hand,” she said. This is getting slightly more awkward… “I’m doing publicity shots for the University,” I said. “Well, I’ll talk to you in a minute,” she replied.

Okay, so does that mean I can take photos? Well she didn’t come talk to me in a minute, so I took several shots at opportune moments. Photography in a setting like this requires some delicacy. First of all it’s dark and flashes are always frowned upon because they are extremely distracting and irritating, so I needed a tripod so I could take pictures at slower shutter speeds. Second it’s in a theater that has incredibly good acoustics, so any shutter noise is very apparent, thus only allowing me to take pictures when there is music and/or spoken word… and even then I have to pick my moments. This means i have to be very selective of when I take a shot. I took 5 pictures before the intermission, and all of them turned out well.

At the intermission, the aforementioned person came and talked to me. She was very brusque and straightforward, but explained why the did not want photographs taken etc… I think it mainly boiled down to copyright issues with choreography and not having the performers permission before hand. Despite the fact that those were not very compelling reasons to stop taking pictures (copyrights on choreographing really only apply to video, and there is not really any law to stop me from taking candid pictures), I decided to oblige them and quit taking photographs. No reason to irritate people just for some work photos.

Anyway, here are my 5 shots from the evening. (I guess i took 6 including the picture of the announcer… maybe that’s why she didn’t like me ;) )

   

   

This one is my favorite.


3 Comments to “Let me remind you that this is a non-smoking facility…”  

  1. 1 Paul

    I’m definitely going to say that the first (of the dancers) and the last were probably your best shots of the evening. Did well for the low light and wide angle if ya ask me ;)

  2. 2 Paul S.

    I liked your chosen shot. How do people in theater expect good photos when they all have to be staged because they don’t want someone to photograph an actual performance? I suppose there is always dress rehearsals, but then you can’t do interesting shots with the audience.

  3. 3 Jordan Ogren

    Everybody is always out to get the photographer. :P