This weekâs Time and Place photograph comes from a shoot I did at the dress rehearsal for the Atlanta Operaâs Cobb Energy Center performance of The Marriage of Figaro. This series was inspired by New Yorker magazine, which does a similar column to Time and Place to lead off its âGoings About Townâ section. I have been admiring some of the backstage images of New York theater that they run and waiting for an opportunity to try my own.
I really like this series because they present a reality a theater-goer never gets to see â the harp-tuner tuning up a harp in an empty theater, the characters getting transformed into peeps from the 18th century. My favorite pictures from this series are the images of the chorus warming up. To me, these images are humorous and force you to contemplate what is going on. They remind me of Lee Friedlander, one of my photographic heroes. He did a series titled âAt Workâ that featured people in the 1980âs working at computers. Friedlander shot the portraits so that the computer screens could not be seen by the viewer and all one sees is the subjectâs head, which forces the viewer to puzzle over what is going on. Those photos had the effect of showing the dehumanization of people as they work in front of computers, with their bland expressions and bored looks. To me, the chorus images have the opposite effect. Their animated expressions show the utter joy and focus these great artists bring to their work.
I owe a big thank you to Cristina Herrera and the Atlanta Opera for letting me photograph them in their most vulnerable state.