Preview - Fever Chart - Central Square Theater

My tenure as resident photographer at Central Square Theater has finally come back around to being forefront (as much as I love the music gigs, the kinds of bands I run with can’t usually pay much). 

Later this month, CST will be presenting Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle EastI’m intrigued by this show, and based on the scene runs I saw yesterday, it should be great.  All the actors have great chemistry together, which is something I love to see when shooting three weeks out from the final dress. 

As per usual, we were in CST’s studio theater, which has notoriously bad lighting unless it’s set for a show.  I basically get house lights and canisters, and those aren’t flattering at all, ever, namely in the shadowed faces under the awkward spacing of lights.  I often deal with extremes in this space, because the lighting is so spotty.  Images are usually overexposed or underexposed, and if they’ve not got exposure issues, you’d best pray that you captured the right moment, cause that’s what you’ve got. 

Still, we did the best we could. 

Stacey & Jeff - Teaser

Just FYI - it’s really hard to photograph in a bridesmaid’s gown.  I managed to shadow their official photographer after the ceremony, plus I got quite a few shots of the girls getting ready, but jeez louise, it’s hard to run around in a dress!

Anyway, here’s one of the ones I love:

Reviews - Hound of the Baskervilles - Central Square Theater

Ack - I’m behind again!

Reviews have come out for Hound of the Baskervilles, and I’ve just been to busy to post:

The Boston Phoenix

The Arts Fuse

Central Square Blog (ok, it’s a repost of the review from the Globe, but still!)

The Patriot Ledger

Broadway World

Hound of the Baskervilles plays through August 22 - and if you join the Central Square Theater Facebook Page, I’m fairly sure there are discount tickets available!

Preview - Hound of the Baskervilles - Central Square Theater - Improper Bostonian

THE IMPROPER FRIGGIN BOSTONIAN!

I have no other words.  (But can I just tell you how often I’ve tried to land a piece in the Improper at any of my other organizations?)

Laurel & Andy - Teasers

Remember that wedding I went to a few weeks ago?  Yeah, I’m still editing those.  I’m getting there, though.  

I have to say, it’s quite difficult to shoot a friend’s wedding.  You don’t want to turn off your ears, because you want to remember the moment - but sometimes you have to tune out so that you’re paying attention to what you’re shooting.  

It was a gorgeous little ceremony out on the Valley Gem Steamer in the middle of the Ohio River (but technically in West Virginia).  I followed the girls around all morning and early afternoon, getting the hair, makeup, and dressing shots, managed to wrangle the boys away from the World Cup games long enough for portraits, and then we coordinated schedules so that everyone got to where they needed to be in time to not miss the boat.  

There are many more photos to come - and I’m preparing to send Laurel her photos - but I just needed to get these out in the world!

Photography in Public Spaces - MBTA

Now, photographing in public spaces generally gives me the heebies.  Because my work is confined mostly to the stage, that’s where I feel safe and comfortable.  Street photography has never been my thing.  Which is part of the reason why I’m taking a class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (Night and Low Light Photography, by the way, taught by the wonderful Skip Shiel).  Because it gives me an excuse to take out my camera more often, it’s a chance to learn more, and a chance to get over this whole phobia I have of photographing away from the stage.  

During tonight’s class, we decided to go down into the Harvard MBTA Station for some real life experience.  We had discussed before leaving the logistics of shooting in public and the fact that it is, indeed, perfectly legal.  (There are, by the way, great resources on the rights of photographers in public spaces - like this.)

Now there’s a slightly sticky point here, and that’s because MBTA is this nebulous organization (mostly made up of complete and total fail).  It’s technically a private company that is assisted by government funds and exists for public consumption.  To say it is a public space is not necessarily true - but nor is it truly a private space.  Nor, I feel, do customers feel the need for any extreme version of “expectation of privacy.”

Another sticky point is the fact that there’s clearly a miscommunication somewhere down the line between actual policies and what employees are trained to do.  

While I was wandering around, nervously shooting from the hip, I noticed one of my fellow students being stopped by an MBTA employee.  I retreated to higher ground, so that I could get a signal on my phone and pull up the MBTA website.  Just as Skip was coming down the stairs.  I told him what I saw, my classmate being talked to by an employee, and he immediately went to her.  Once the page loaded, I joined him, where he was having a polite but clearly heated discussion with said employee.  

As we were talking, another MBTA employee caught another one of our group taking photos, and pulled him towards us.  Eventually, I got around to showing each employee (by now, there were three of them gathering us together) what their own website said.  

They seemed shocked by this.  The woman we initially encountered had already called dispatch, and was in the middle of telling us that three years ago, she underwent training that told her that all photographic activity on MBTA property was strictly prohibited.  

My counter-argument, of course, was to bring up the “See something, Say something" campaign.  (Besides the logical fallacy that we are “now, more than ever” continuously on an escalating terror alert.)  

If someone harasses me on the MBTA, am I not even allowed to take a photo with my cell phone?  What if the only camera I have to catch the creep is my DSLR?  Where is the line?  I wanted to bring up the partnership that was forged just over a year ago with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, where ads encouraged the taking of photos when one feels harassed and intimidated on the T.  I wanted to talk about all the tourists who are always, always, taking photos in the stations, on the trains, etc.  Not to mention the fact that the MBTA is continuously under-staffed and there are often no employees in stations after a certain point in the day (like in Davis Square, where there is generally never an employee after 8 pm, and any altercation means waiting - up to, and often more than, 30 minutes).  So taking photos might be the only way to “See Something Say Something”.

But I sadly never got the chance.  Employees largely dismissed us - the woman went back to work, one man simply wandered away - except for one, who offered to stick around until dispatch arrived (which took longer than 30 minutes, so we left) so that he could learn what the actual policy was.  

Truth be told, I doubt there will ever be a resolution to this.  It’s well-documented through other’s personal accounts that MBTA tells the public one thing and tells employees another, completely wrong, thing.  

Anyway, enough rambling - here’s the few shots I managed to get off before our operation got shut down:

What are your thoughts on photography in public spaces?  Namely, spaces like MBTA or other public transit authorities?

Review - The Lady with all the Answers - Central Square Theater - HubReview

So we all know I don’t like this guy, right?  He’ll credit every idiot with a point and shoot, but not me?  Awesome.

During From Orchids to Octopi, he stole - that’s right, STOLE, as in yoinked, swiped, ganked, etc - one of the preview photos right from this here blog WITH MY WATERMARK, to post in his little blog because he no longer has access to the real thing anymore, and I posted a DMCA takedown notice on it, and Google followed through, because he’s hosting through Blogspot, and God forbid that any of their lovlies get tangled up in a copyright mess.  So yay Google!

Anyway, here’s his lackluster review of The Lady With All the Answers, which is still running, through June 26 at Central Square Theater.  And look - credit!