“Small Gods” – joys and vicissitudes of stage photography…

May 25, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

As my daughter Eva is playing in “Les Petits Dieux”, adapted from Terry Prachett’s Small Gods (in the Comedia Dell Essec troupe led by Alexei du Périer de Larsan), I jumped on the opportunity to practice scenic portraiture, which is far from being my top expertise…

Version française ici

Les Petits Dieux - Comedia Dell ESSEC - 2017De gauche à droite: Jenna (Sergent Simonie), Victor (la Mort, Saint Ongulent Type), Eva (Sœur Nonroide, Aristabus, Déesse, Philosophe), Alexei (metteur en scène), Baptiste (Om), Margaux (Mérine), Anne-Sophie (Urne, Eristhe), Jules (Sasho, Didactyle), Marine (Général Friit, Xenon), Paul-Amir (Exquisiteur, Tyran), Octave (Vorbis)

The play beautifully blends the depths of the themes tackled – obscurantism vs. tolerance, knowledge, religions (including through pretty demanding literary references) with light humor and salutary self-derision.

On the photography side, the extreme contrasts created by the stage lighting are a permanent challenge… and obviously HDR is not an option 😊 Using a full-frame camera (or, in this instance, two!), and shooting RAW and exposing for the highlights helps capture as much as possible information on a broad dynamic range, which a meticulous yet slightly tedious development enables to transform into very decent pictures…

These contrasts can also be an opportunity, as drama is definitely there:

Les Petits Dieux - Comedia Delll ESSEC - 2017Les Petits Dieux - Comedia Delll ESSEC - 2017Victor - La Mort

As in all my portraits, I tried to capture the emotional intensity, whether dramatic…

Les Petits Dieux - Comedia Delll ESSEC - 2017Les Petits Dieux – Comedia Delll ESSEC - 2017Margaux – Mérine, Baptiste – Om

… or burlesque:

Les Petits Dieux - Comedia Delll ESSEC - 2017Les Petits Dieux - Comedia Delll ESSEC - 2017Victor – Saint Ongulent Type; Baptiste – Om; Eva – Déesse.

With a source as off the wall as Pratchett’s, the materials are abundant. (No, you’re not dreaming – above, Baptiste – is actually wearing a turtle on his head. He is Om, a “small god” stuck in a turtle body, looking for somebody to believe in him…)

Beyond the play, I was as always particularly interested in what happened on the side, either backstage…

Les Petits Dieux – ESSEC – 22 mai 2017Alexei du Périer de Larsan, metteur en scène

… or during preparation

Les Petits Dieux - ESSEC - 22 Mai 2017Margaux, se préparant à jouer le rôle principal de Mérine

This also enabled me to see Eva under a new light, for the first time ever with professional makeup…

Les Petits Dieux - ESSEC - 22 mai 2017Les Petits Dieux - ESSEC - 22 mai 2017Eva, jouant quatre rôles : Sœur Nonroide, Aristabus, Philosophe, et Déesse (pas mal sur un CV, non ?)

… and I even had a few opportunities of contextual portraits (thankfully anachronism doesn’t kill!):

Les Petits Dieux – ESSEC – 22 mai 2017Jules – Didactyle

You can find the photos of the play in this gallery.

Great play, outstanding performance from the troupe! Thank you!!


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