shakespeare.

One of my most missed things about Minnesota is my acting class. It was an escape from my day to day life to a safe place. My classmates were my family. I learned so much with them and from them. Our second year was focused on Shakespeare, and I fell so completely in love. I can still perform the sonnet and monologues I learned in a heartbeat. I could probably still do my scene as well, but I had the most amazing scene partner in Heather, and I would hate to do it with anyone but her.

I am taking British Literature, and last semester, I got to do something creative for my final project. We were instructed to choose one of the several periods that we had studied, conduct some research, and present our findings in our own way. I decided to focus my project on the Elizabethan era. I created a presentation to include the info I had found on the art, music, food, and clothing of the era. However, I also set up a photoshoot. With the help of my friend Seth, I staged and photographed scenes from Shakespeare’s works. I had a lot of fun with this project, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. So was my teacher, apparently, as I got 100%!

Here are a couple of the photos from the project. Enjoy!


Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?


Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of
infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me
on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred
in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung
those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where
be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your
flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on
a roar?

renee.

Yesterday, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking Renee’s headshots! We met up at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. The cafe staff was super accommodating, giving us access to the private room in back for our initial photos. There was a huge window on one wall, flooding the entire room with light. Somehow, I keep lucking out in terms of weather for my important shoots. Once again, the sky was just overcast enough to give the world the perfect natural diffused light. It was a little windy, but at just over 50 degrees, it was the perfect day.

With portraits, especially headshots, it is extremely important to draw attention to the eyes. That was a snap with Renee. Her blue-green eyes are absolutely magnetic and are complimented perfectly by her big, warm smile. As soon as I got set up, we jumped right in. We utilized every aspect of that room that we could for our first set of shots. From there, we went outside to the vine-covered wall on the side of the Common Roots building. There was also a great alley full of interesting backdrops just a few feet away. As we started working more, we both started to relax and get more into it. It was great to watch her after I suggested she think of a few of her favorite roles she has played to use as inspiration for posing and facial expressions. That seemed to really loosen her up. She started taking moments to internalize, and then she’d come back up with a brand new look on her face. It was such a theatre thing, and something I can totally identify with. There were also just some great lighthearted moments. At one point, Renee was posing in front of a brick fence next to the back of a house. Next thing we know, someone is coming out of the wooden gate right next to the fence. We casually strolled away as if we’d never been there, but started laughing the second we were out of earshot.

After we finished up at Common Roots, we drove over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There was tons to work with there. Staircases, windows, brightly colored walls, and more. This was my favorite shot, taken just outside the lobby. There were tons of these great red twig plants and they were just the right amount of texture and color to make the perfect backdrop.

We wandered all over the grounds of the MIA, plus went across the street to Washburn Fair Oaks. The park was totally muddy and gross (yay spring?) and we got a lot of weird people walking by, but we still managed to get some shots I’m proud of. I got over 700 photos total in the two hours we spent shooting, 400 of which made the grade to be sent off to Renee for approval. All in all, a very successful session.

I used my L series 50mm for the entire shoot. I played with my aperture and shutter speed a lot, but my ISO was hardly ever above 200. I used a reflector for a few shots, but for the most part, we didn’t really need it. The natural light was just so good. I do wish I had remembered to bring my ladder. While cumbersome, it is so useful for getting a variety of different angles. Live and learn, I suppose.

Thanks to the fine people at Common Roots Cafe for being so helpful, and for making tasty food. I tried a coconut lime tea cake and it was awesome. And of course, thank you, Renee! I had a blast working with you and I hope you like your photos!

the course of true love never did run smooth.

Shakespeare.
As an actor, it is one of the most beautiful and terrifying things in the world.
As a photographer, it’s nothing but beauty.

I auditioned for Upright Egg‘s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last spring. I got cast, but had to decline the role as I was cast in another show at the same time. I offered my services as photographer and attended one rehearsal and one performance.
It was magical.

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Director Leah Adcock-Starr has a way of finding little nuances in text that no one has ever seen before and bringing it to life. It was clear that the show was not only a performance, but an art piece. The whole thing was done processional style, which really helped draw you into the world the characters lived in; and as a photographer, helped me get in close on what the actors were doing. The cast was amazing. I could have photographed them for days. Everyone was in character at all times. You’d be watching a scene and notice some movement in the corner of your eye. When you turned to look, you’d see fairies running about and causing mischief. At the performance I attended, two of the fairies came up to me excitedly, one of them holding a frog in his hands. Another one sat between two trees and watched the audience curiously.

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I treated the whole thing as a totally out-of-control photoshoot rather than stills of a performance. For the most part, I used my Tamron 18-270mm to provide maximum flexibility for not only capturing the action in the scene, but for spying on fairies scattered around the forest. My other settings were all over the map to accommodate for the constant zooming in and out and change of scenery and lighting. I took just under a thousand photos total and edited 90 to be put on flickr. I had not started shooting in RAW yet, so I edited all of them in CS4. I probably could have used more, but there comes a point where it’s just a teeny bit ridiculous. I am very happy with the photos I chose, though. I am also extremely pleased to say that I was involved with that production. Thank you so much for that amazing opportunity, Leah!

I’ve posted a couple of the photos publicly, but you can see all 90 by clicking here. Enjoy!

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.