Homophonic! 2019

It’s always a treat being invited back to festivals. Not only do you get to see familiar faces again, but you get to enjoy the buzz and celebration of what’s on offer this time round.   

This year I was invited back by Miranda Hill from 3 Shades Black to shoot some concert photography and videography for Homophonic!

It was Homophonic!’s 8th year presenting their ‘extravaganza of new, queer, classical, awesome music’ as part of the Midsumma Festival.  The programme was a mix of composers from Australia and around the globe, and the styles were equally diverse. 

I really enjoyed the programming this year, as it had a good flow of contrasting works- from Judith Dodsworth’s performance in Adés Life Story, which was brilliantly sleazy and theatrical, to something more introverted like the world premiere of attend: extend/contain by Naima Fine, which was a haunting response to the composers’ struggle with tinnitus. Definitely worth checking out next year, if you ever get the chance!

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A Quiet Moment

I have a few favourite photographs from the show, but this one would probably be at the top of the list.

I don’t ever really consider myself an event photographer, especially when I shoot concert photography and behind the scenes stuff. For me it’s like street photography, since I’m constantly waiting to capture something unexpected and catching people during an honest moment. It’s never detached or objective. I think it means I’d make a rubbish crime scene photographer, as I’d always be trying to get an interesting angle on all the dead bodies.

But I digress.

Wilma & Friends 2019 Season: It's all about the fronds!

Timelapse of my studio shoot with Wilma & Friends (no sound)

‘What would Wilma do with her friends?’

In developing a creative concept for Wilma and Friends’ 2019 Season, this question set my rampant imagination free, like a kid let loose at an all-you-can-eat Peppa Pig ice-cream buffet.   

Wilma at a dinner party

Wilma running a book club

Wilma going bowling

Wilma going paragliding

Wilma running an unregistered backyard casino

After returning to the land of reality, I referred to a comprehensive questionnaire that I had Wilma fill in, which gave me a strong sense of the type of imagery and visual language that would befit the brand of Wilma & Friends. Sadly, ‘Wilma skydiving and creating formations with friends mid-air whilst spelling out the programme for the year’ did not fit the brief.

In the end I settled on something that I knew would work an absolute treat:  Wilma has a tea party! 

I’ve been lucky thus far with clients that most (if not all) have fully entrusted me with immense creative freedom. Wilma was no exception.  She was as enthusiastic as I was with the ‘fun and bold’ concept that was proposed.  I’m proud of how this project unfolded as I think it’s an honest representation of Wilma’s warmth and humour, and of my own work.

Early drawings of concept

On the day of the studio shoot, I had some party tunes on, and a selection of props that I’d procured, one of which was a special fern I’d brought from home that I wanted Stefan to use.  (It’s all about the fronds, baby!).  The visuals needed to be fun, relaxed, and friendly. The colours needed to ‘pop’, so I opted for a white background, and the use of a pair 60 inch umbrellas that allowed for a clean and soft spread over the musicians. I also had the musicians dispense with standard performance clothing and instead come in clothes they would usually wear to a garden tea party. The clothing brief was intentionally broad, and there was a distinct possibility that someone would turn up in a suit, while another in a panda onesie. It didn’t matter though, in fact eclecticism was embraced as it was important that everyone’s individual personalities shone through.

All-in-all I photographed 10 people in three hours.  I shot individual portraits, small groups in accordance with the concert programming, and a large group portrait with everyone and their respective props.  Timing-wise, it was a little ambitious, but we made it work.  There was much laughter, chatter, cake and biscuits!  

It wasn’t just a shoot of a party, it was a party. How meta. 

It was probably one of the funnest shoots I’ve ever done, and I think the party vibes translated well in the final images.  

 

2019 Concert Season Brochure