Shooting Production Stills of Northern Ballet’s Madame Butterfly

Yesterday I made the journey up to Leeds in Yorkshire from Southampton airport in Hampshire to shoot some production stills during the final dress rehearsal of Madame Butterfly which was performed in the Leeds Grand Theatre by the Northern Ballet company. David Nixon’s production runs from the 29th February through to the 10th March and despite watching it almost exclusively through my viewfinder it was absolutely enthralling and I’d highly recommend going to see it if you can.

Some of my regular blog readers will know that I have a personal project list which I wrote back in late December, some of it is aspirational, and some of it with a nod to possible opportunities, and taking these production stills was more of the latter. I’m delighted that I have managed to start one of the projects so early in the year especially as to date we have had a busy time after the Christmas break with lots of commercial photography commissions.

I packed lightly to ensure I could take my kit as hand luggage, but still managed to take a good selection of very low light equipment. Of course there was no opportunity to use flash, or interrupt the performance (and rightly so) and all of the images I captured were under performance lighting conditions, and at show pace. At times the combination of dramatic lighting and speed was testing the very upper limits of the most current professional equipment on the market. That said I’m delighted with the way that everything performed and very pleased with the high technical quality of the images.

All that therefore remained was to capture a comprehensive selection of images with storytelling, action and inviting content across the entire production, from what was a good vantage point sitting on the stalls of the theatre close to the lighting desk. The temptation of course, particularly with dance is to look for the most energetic, and explosive moves, and I’d like to think that I have captured those as well – but there was so much expression and emotion portrayed in this sad love story that I was compelled to show as many of those images in this short preview cameo from my initial view of the entire set.

I’m going to be working through them in a few days time at which point I may add some additional images to the small gallery below.

Typically production stills such as these are used for dance company websites, brochures and programmes, press releases, and other general advertising, and for supply to media outlets to support written reviews.

Please note these images are subject to copyright, as are all of our images posted on the blog, website and Facebook pages of Meonshore Studios. They are also additionally under restricted usage terms by the Northern Ballet. Breaching either of these will result in legal action.

 

 

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