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Production pictures


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Production pictures

19 Jul 2021 11:09AM   Views : 153 Unique : 104


It’s been a long time since I did proper production photographs – that is, shooting at a dress rehearsal and producing prints for display on the first night. I did it when I was at school, and I suppose it’s that experience that shapes my view.

The normal pattern for amateur dramatics is that the dress rehearsal is the day before the show, often in the evening. That presents a real challenge with film, as you arrive home late in the evening with several cassettes of film that need to be developed, washed and dried. Logic dictates that you do this before going to bed, so that the films are dry the following morning…


Printing in a darkroom isn’t a rapid business, and on more than one occasion I ended up with prints drying as the audience looked at them on the way to their seats… My more recent experience has come through my daughter (who was assistant director for school plays, so the results are available in the school archives, and nowhere else because of child protection policies) and son (who acts in some amateur productions).

Fortunately, the school drama teacher did other things in theatre, and that has led to a good deal of other image-making. These days, I tend to take pictures and hand over the files for others to compile into posters and so on – much more relaxed!


As I think of the fun that production pictures have provided (and the negatives deep in the filing system from the Seventies and Nineties) I wonder if I could take that on again. It’s easier now than then: I have wider lenses, and 3200 ISO films as well as far more cumulative knowledge and experience (sometimes abbreviated to ‘CAKE’). I’d be far more aware of the stresses – but I might also manage to plan better, and decide on some things to avoid doing.




dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1868 England
19 Jul 2021 11:11AM
Top and bottom, unofficial pictures of the Derby Shakespeare Company running through Much Ado About nothing at the Minack Theatre in 2011: Duder junior is bottom right of the second image. In between, two of Ian's pupils who are now professional actors, Dominic Thompson and Chris Round. Chris specialises a bit in fight arranging.
19 Jul 2021 11:40AM
The Minack Theatre is a great place, inspirational. Paul.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1868 England
19 Jul 2021 1:29PM
The Minack is wonderful: I'd have taken up acting in my twenties if I'd known about it, in the hope of playing Prospero there on a stormy night...

But for me the magic of theatre is the ability of actors to turn a school hall into a stadium, or a mossy dell into a strip club. Almost always, it's the words and the faces that make it what it is.
Robert51 12 7 123 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2021 4:16PM
I think anyone who takes photographs at some time get asked to do something like this or a wedding.

The one thing you didn't mention was posters.

Over the years I have learnt how to say no to weddings because if your get it right it's expected, get it wrong and that's it. I also wonder why some cameras are removing the second card slot ???
There again we have smart motorways. Whoever thought that was a good idea...
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1868 England
19 Jul 2021 6:41PM
I know two slots are incredibly popular, for backup. Card failure is rare, and changing a card takes seconds.

I have done weddings for friends, with a big disclaimer, and only if they are short of money - never for profit.

When I did film-based production shots, I was involved months after the posters were printed: So I only had to produce large prints - I think usually 16"x12" - to put up.

I have had pictures used for a couple of posters in the last few years, and got earlier, privileged access to achieve them at the right time. Others did the hard work, though - i merely took the pictures.

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