This week I got a message from a friend I met at BE Festival last year. She was now working at the The Belgrade Theatre looking after their PR & Marketing and their usual photographer was unavailable for a shoot they had set up at Kenilworth Castle and she wondered if I could step in and cover the assignment.
She also mentioned that she’d seen my recent photos of Jeremy Corbyn on my Facebook page and it had made her think of me for the job. So when people ask if it’s worth you doing voluntary work, I always say as long as you enjoy what you’re doing then yes it definitely is. I’ve had several jobs recently that have stemmed, in an around about way, from unpaid work I’ve done in the past.
The day before the shoot we’d had nothing but snow and when it continued the next morning I was thought we’d have to call everything off. But by lunchtime the sun had come out so we agreed to go ahead.
I arrived at the Belgrade, met the actors (two really lovely guys from the cast of the Monty Python show ‘Spamalot’) and enquired about props. I’m not sure if it’s the production design I’ve been doing a lot more of on films lately, or just my love of anything a bit silly, but the right props or costumes can really make a mediocre photo into a really eye-catching one.
I’d hoped for maybe a sword or bow and arrow but if we wanted to take anything like that with us, because it’s considered a weapon, they’d need to bring the stage manager along too and sadly there wasn’t enough room in the taxi for him too. In the end it turned out it was probably a good job we didn’t bring the sword along because as we pulled into Kenilworth Castle’s car park we pulled in next to a police car who looked totally bemused as Lady Godiva walked across the car park towards us through the snow.
We set up to start shooting just as the sun really came up behind the castle. This was not great timing as we needed the front of the castle in the photos and my shots were coming out really over exposed due to the excess sunlight. I was really grateful when we moved inside to do some more photos and we had less sunshine to compete with. But I think I might need to consider buying some ND filters soon as they would have really compensated for the harsh sunlight and saved me a lot of time having to adjust the photos in Lightroom when I got home.
I got the photos edited that evening and across to The Belgrade the next morning.
It was great to see them being used on social media and in reviews over the next few weeks.
I’ve noticed I really enjoy photographing and filming anything involving costumes and theatre and think it might be worth me looking into photographing and filming more events like that when I graduate. Ideally I’d love to be filming re-enactment events, burlesque performances and danger acts, although I’m not sure how many of those we have in the West Midlands, but it’s certainly something to look into. Especially with the City of Culture coming up in 2021. You never know what exciting events we may have in Coventry by then.