May 8: A Brief Clarification/Update on Some Numbers

For a while, I’ve had two key statistics on my About page: that I had a client portfolio of 16 performing arts and historical performance organizations (meaning, specifically, a bunch of performing arts companies and the Freedom Trail Foundation) and that I had photographed more than 140 performances.

That wasn’t an exaggeration: I actually started a spreadsheet last year to keep track of all of the performances I’ve ever shot professionally, and I keep a running list of my performing arts clients publicly on my website. The list of performances is not complete – I know for a fact that there are performances that I’ve unintentionally left off because I’ve only pored through most of my external drives, but not all of my Google storage folders, to gather a complete list of shows I’ve shot.

The spreadsheet itself has categories for Theatre, Dance, Music, Opera, and “?”; the latter is for events whose categories are more nebulous. Some events are easily label-able; La Boheme is opera, Huey Lewis is music; Othello is theatre.

But what about a show called “Musical Improv”? What about a talent show? What about a drag show? 

Furthermore, how do unusual “counts” factor into my final tally? If I’ve photographed the same show three times, then should I count that once or three times? What about a particular, albeit rare, situation - a show I don’t photograph all the way through, by the client’s request? To the former question, I decided that I’d round down, in the interest of being scrupulous and avoiding the risk of puffery; to the latter, I decided that photographing a performance still requires the experience, time, skillset, and consideration of photographing a performance, no matter what. I also decided to count performances and final dress rehearsals, but not costume-less rehearsals or classes.

Even after all of these restrictions, I still had two totals that I was very proud of: more than 140 performances in theatre, dance, music, and opera, and 16 performing arts clients. I made a point of specifying “more than” to include the performances I knew I had photographed but hadn’t accounted for.

(Another note: I consider “clients” to include organizations I’ve worked for in-house as well as freelance, even if I don’t currently work for them because I’ve moved. I also don’t count student groups as clients.)

But, until very recently, that count had a gaping hole in it: it was missing Idyllwild.

I worked at Idyllwild Arts in the summer of 2017. It’s a residential arts camp in the forest, on top of a mountain, which is itself within the middle of a desert. Naturally, it’s gorgeous, and as an arts photographer, my position as Campus Photographer was all the more gratifying. 

But listing all of the work I did at Idyllwild was an endeavor of its own, simply because my everyday work involved photographing the arts. Funnily enough, I found, in retrospect, that I had photographed nearly four times as many musical performances as theatre! Still, once I had accounted for all of the performances I shot, I knew it was time for an update.

Not only that, but, as I discussed in my last blog post, I also added two new performing arts clients to my roster last weekend: The Umbrella Arts Center in Concord and The Boston Jewish Film Festival.

I’m writing this to provide some context for what may seem like a rather large jump if you’re familiar with that longstanding 140/16 number. 

As of now, I have photographed more than 170 performances in theatre, dance, music, and opera, and I have 18 performing arts and historical performance clients in three states.

[Note: as of July 6, the updated total is now 19 performing arts clients!]

[Note: as of October 21, it’s now twenty!]

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