July 6: A New, Anonymous Home in the Pines

I’ve always enjoyed using this website to share and tell as much as possible. A photo is worth a thousand words, sure, but I’ve always enjoyed being able to expand and elaborate on the process behind a photo, the choice of one photo instead of another, behind-the-scenes secrets, and anything else that the photo itself wouldn’t be able to say. I’ve never shied away from sharing a photo somewhere, on my blog, my website, an Instagram story, something, even if I wasn’t in love with it. I love taking photos just as much as I love sharing them with my clients and friends.

Also, in the past two weeks, I have taken more than 17,000 photos.

And, for the next six weeks, I cannot share any of them.

I can’t even give details about where I’m working at the moment, for related reasons. All I can say is, it is physically located within a forest, and both it and my position are similar to another place I have worked previously. On a daily basis, I’m surrounded by amazing opportunities for photography and people who adore being photographed. And, quite honestly, I think I’ve taken a good number of photos in my first two weeks that are definitely portfolio-worthy.

So, naturally, the social media restrictions are a little frustrating. Still, being here hasn’t slowed me down one bit. Rather, the exact opposite. 

Because I’m constantly surrounded by energy, and because I am the sole (official) photographer on campus, I have a very privileged role. Early on, I set a goal for myself to shoot at least a thousand photos a day. I’ve accomplished or exceeded this every day thus far, with the exception of two editing days, and I’m incredibly grateful that my job allows me to continue to grow my photo cache at this rate. 

Not to mention, things outside of this campus have been looking up as well. Earlier this summer, I had a fabulous time photographing the Berkshire Pride Drag Show ––

– and, as a result, I booked a gig for tomorrow evening that represents a major milestone for me: it brings me up to nineteen performing arts clients in my portfolio, which now includes all of the five principal theatres in the Berkshires!

I’m writing this blog entry to give some context for why my website and social media won’t be updating for a while –– I’m not inactive. Not even remotely. I’m just making the most of a unique, if temporary, situation that keeps me grounded to one location here in the wilderness. Although the break from most electronics and social media here was tricky to get used to at first, it’s actually been surprisingly beneficial to my shooting habits and day-to-day workflow as a photographer.

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!]

May 6: Lost in Boston Part 2

As promised, an update from the previous post: rather than going to Boston just for one new client, it ended up being for two new clients!

It certainly made up for not being able to do shoots with friends as I had originally intended (scheduling issues on my end.) I photographed the Earth Day celebrations (multiple events, hence multiple shoots) for The Umbrella, a community performing/visual arts center in Boston…

…and I got asked to do a last-minute shoot for the Boston Jewish Film Festival as well, covering an event with Mike Reiss, a writer/producer for The Simpsons

Not only was it really fun to be a part of these events, but this also brings my performing arts organization client count up to eighteen!

While both events came with challenges – limited shooting space in the case of the BJFF; finicky sun and cloud cover in the case of The Umbrella (how fitting a name!) – I was able to make good from them both, even if they aren’t portfolio shots. Here’s to the next trip into the city!

Using Format