All My Sons

In this blog post I bring you another theatre play. Hannah Calascione asked if I wanted to photograph the dress rehearsal of All My Sons by Arthur Miller, to which, as you might gather by the existence of this post, I said yes. I ended up shooting both at the tech rehearsal and the dress rehearsal, although to be completely honest from the tech I mostly got shots of the actors goofing around in the dressing room. They are a really fun crowd! Those photos are at the end. If you have not seen the play already, then go check it out. It is playing at the ADC Theatre 14-18 October 2014. You can read the Varsity preview and their review here (where it got 4.5/5 stars).

hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-1-storm
The play starts with a storm: leaves blowing and virtual rain falling from the sky. Kate, the mother, (played by Jazz Jagger) is awakened by a crashing sound. I was not really ready when the play started, so was happy to manage to capture this shot, because Jazz was in and out quite quickly.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-2-fallen-tree
Frank Lubey (played by David Matthews) inspects the damage. The tree has a strong symbolic value in the play, and I was positioned close to it just in front of the stage. I wanted Frank, the tree, and ideally Joe Keller (played by Chris Born) in the background.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-3-boy
Here I have cleaned up the background a bit to remove anything that distracts from the actors. Looking again I can see that I missed a piece of the house on the right which I should have taken out with content-aware fill.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-4-boy
Here my focus was on Chris Keller (played by Tom Russel), to capture his gesture. The people in the foreground provide context and give the image a bit of depth.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-5-father-son
This photo made me pause a bit, I was not sure how to process it. Here is a cropped version, the original photo extends to the left. I am still not sure this is the right choice, but it gives more focus on their interaction.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-6-father-son
All is not roses. Here I like the black line between their heads which line up with Chris’s gaze.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-7-mom
Old mom arrives on set, breaking up the fight. I picked this photo because I like the framing of it. Even though Jazz is small, she is in focus and the centre of attention.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-8-mom-tree
Here I had been waiting with the tree in the foreground for her to acknowledge that it was broken.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-11-mom
We are introduced to Ann Deever (played by Aoife Kennan), here left in the photo. I noted that they were roughly equally spaced, and moved to try and get clear separation between them. I like that their heads line up on an almost diagonal line.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-10-boy
I wanted to have Jazz’s expression, and the boy and Chris in the background slightly out of focus. Looking at this photo again I see that the boy is not as visible as it was in the colour version. There is also a distracting white dot in the upper left corner.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-12-couple
For some scenes you have to be on your toes in order to get good separation between the actors as they move around. I also want as many faces visible as possible if I have a choice.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-9-family
Another photo that I made black and white. However, reevaluating it again I wonder if the hands of Tom and Jazz are more visible in the colour version. Or perhaps I am just getting tired now as it is getting late here…
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-13-couple-kiss
A bit of on stage love between Aoife and Tom. I took several shots, but picked the one just before they kissed. I have also cleaned up the background a little bit but left the white structure in the bottom left corner in order not to have it completely empty there. I am trying to keep the two sides balanced.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-14-couple-kiss
This is one of my favourite shots from the dress rehearsal. I like the colours, the composition, and the moment it captures.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-15-brother-arrives
This one was a bit tricky, the light was very orange. In the end I decided to do it black and white and add a bit of vignetting.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-17-argument
Here I was lucky to get all five of the actors on stage in the shot. The argument revolves around the father sitting in the background. Unfortunately I missed the shot where Jazz slapped Chris’s face a few minutes later. I was not expecting that!

hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-18-argument hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-19-fight hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-20-candle hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-21-letter hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-22-more-argument hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-23-shot hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-24

It is not a play with a happy ending. Let me instead end with some photos from the actors’ dressing room prior to the tech rehearsal.

hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-makeup
Olivia Bowman (co-director) in action with Chris and …

For the tech rehearsal I had brought two cameras with me. Since I only have prime lenses, and switching takes a bit of time, I figured two cameras might be a poor man’s zoom. I would not recommend it. It was quite cumbersome to have two cameras dangling around my neck, and after a few hours it started getting painful. My back still hurts today. I had brought a 35 mm and an 80 mm lens with me. Turns out my favourite focal length for photographing at the ADC theatre is 50 mm. So at least I learned that lesson. For the dress rehearsal I only brought one camera and the trusted 50 mm lens. Oh, and you look quite silly with two cameras around your neck. I prefer to have only one camera, and be more mobile.

hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-james
James Dobbyn with his new hat.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-eleanor-david
Eleanor Collvile and David Matthews. This photo just got the focus nailed, I can see the outline of myself reflected in their eyes in the full resolution version! For a slightly higher resolution version, click the photo.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-aoife-having-fun
Eleanor and Aoife.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-tough-love
Lauren Brown and David Matthews.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-photographer-caught-on-camera
Just scroll down to the next photo, thanks. 😉
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-real-grass
Did I mention that they have rebuilt the stage to have real grass? Here Josie Wastell and Sam Payne.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-hannah-eating-cake
Hannah caught on digital film while raiding the birthday cake someone had left behind.
hjorthmedh-all-my-sons-tech-rehearsal-shanti-in-action
Shanti Daffern in action. Here I was trying to get a low angle to get the sound guy up in the window above, but he managed to dodge the photo.

This post got really photo heavy. I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and if you have a chance, go and see the show! It is really good! You can find a list of my theatre related blog posts here.

– Johannes

Reviews: The Cambridge Student (7/10), Varsity (4.5/5), The Tab

Cast
Joe Keller – Chris Born
Kate Keller – Jazz Jagger
Chris Keller – Tom Russell
Ann Deever – Aoife Kennan
George Deever – Gabriel Cagan
Dr Jim Bayliss – James Dobbyn
Sue Bayliss – Lauren Brown
Frank Lubey – David Matthews
Lydia Lubey – Eleanor Colville
Bert – William Clare

Production Team
Producer – Lewis Scott
Assistant Producer – Hannah Piercy
Publicist – Henry St Leger-Davey
Lighting Designer – Shanti Daffern
Chief Electrician – Jon French
Publicity Designer – Craig Slade
Deputy Stage Manager – Josie Wastell
Costume Designer – Ellie Beveridge
Costume Assistant – Matt Jordan
Sound Designer – Jamie Rycroft
Assistant Set Designer – Matilda Ettedgui
Set Designer – Zoe Higgins
Hair and Makeup Designer – Juliana Pars
Hair and Makeup Assistant – Sarah Caulfield
Production Photographer – Ed Bryan
Stage Manager/Head Gardener – Sam Payne
Technical Director/Horticulturist – Jack Swanborough
Gardener – Hannah Edwards
Carpenter – Lydia Clark
Director – Olivia Bowman, Hannah Calascione
Photographer – Johannes Hjorth

Written by:

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *