Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Absolute Classics is a charitable organisation dedicated to bringing internationally recognised classical musicians to Dumfries & Galloway to perform and give master classes. Driven by the passion of Alex McQuiston, all sorts of amazingly talented performers have delighted audiences in this part of mostly rural SW Scotland.
I was asked by Alex to take some photos of the rehearsals of 2 different performances last week during the recent Absolute Classics Festival at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries.
On Wednesday was cellist Guy Johnston, and three days later, violinist Filip Pogády. On both occasions they were accompanied on the piano by Simon Callaghan. All are world-class musicians.
Although I did do a little bit of photography of the live performances, the reality is the photos weren’t that great. A paying audience would not take kindly to flashes going off to enable me to counter the low light conditions, and even the click of the camera can be a distraction for people opening their ears wide to feast on the beautiful sounds flowing out of the instruments.
So my primary focus was to photograph them on stage at the theatre during the afternoon rehearsals, free from any audience imposed restrictions.
In both cases, they just got on with their playing while I moved lights around and took all the photos I wanted, and I was never given any impression that I was a distraction or irritation.
I quickly discovered that a set up of 2 off-camera flashes gave me the best dramatic light set up. I could place one behind to get that all-important backlight, while another to one side lit the performers while still allowing for plenty of shadow play.
But the best part of it all was I treated to what felt like my own personal concert of amazing live music, by the most skilled of musicians, while I was working.
It doesn’t get much better than that!