September 8, 2015
I love giving back to the community. I’m very fortunate in that I grew up in a supportive household with nearly every door in the world open for me to pursue. One of those avenues was musical theater. Not professionally, but just as a creative outlet and a means to meet all kinds of crazy people. So when I was asked to shoot the 2015 MAT Awards, I was more than happy to help them out.
I actually wasn’t their first choice. I wasn’t even asked until a week before the award ceremony. Unfortunately for the event, their established photographer had a medical emergency about 5 days before and would not be able to shoot it. Through various networks, a friend of mine asked if I’d be interested in picking up the job and helping them out. I agreed and was put in touch with one of the MAT committee members, Karen, who practically volun-told me, “You’re shooting this!” Well okay then!
Fast forward 4 days and I walked into the Roswell Cultural Arts Center with absolutely zero idea of what I was getting myself into. My only definitive inputs prior to the big day: It would be 1920’s themed and I had to be there at 1:30PM. Looking back, I’d rate the day as about 2/3rd Wedding stressful. The game plan was to get candid shots of everyone milling about and then focus on taking pictures of the MCs, presenters, award recipients, and the occasional act on stage during the actual ceremony. So essentially a wedding without the reception afterwards.
For those who have never shot with stage lighting, it’s a challenge. The light is very directional, AKA front to back, which can be awesome but it can also be very limiting – especially when you can’t control it. The solution: pick a spot where you know your subject is pretty well lit with some shadow to make the photos interesting, and then snag the shot before they turn too much and look like Batman under a streetlamp at midnight. Luckily for me, the lighting came up every now and then so I had some liberty to move around and get some different angles. Variety is a wonderful thing.
The Atlanta theater community is incredibly passionate and supportive of each other and itself. There were lots of cheers from competing shows for the other winners and an incredible amount of camaraderie among the attendees. It was a wonderful experience and really let me see just how much Family there is within this niche of Atlanta.
Big thanks to Karen Rooker for hiring me for this gig. It was a crazy experience and I’m so thankful for it. She is one heck of an Award Holder AKA the gal who gave the awards to the winners. Thanks again, Karen!
Also, a HUGE thank you to Russ Ivey. He runs the MAT Awards, which went off without a hitch, and was kind enough to tell me, “I would actually prefer you keep the watermark on the pictures, because these people should know who the awesome photographer is.” For those who don’t know – THIS NEVER HAPPENS! I nearly fell out of my desk at work when I read those words. Thank you so much, Russ!
Below are some of my favorite images from the afternoon. I had a great time and can’t wait for the next adventure with my camera!
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