Every time I shoot a press event I come up with a new idea or two for photography, not for selling my shots but for art. Because the world of press, like the universe it is a part of, is nuts. And art is a great response to insanity.
Monday’s idea is to photograph the caterers and service workers at a star-studded event. Like these actresses in their own right:
The First Steps Awards are for youngins in German film. It felt like the younger sibling of Berlinale, Germany’s main film festival, which I’ll be covering in January. First Steps has major sponsorship and A-list guests, even if the nominees and winners are all up and coming. That meant that by the end of the night, most people who got prizes couldn’t walk in their shoes anymore. Not that I could in those heels, but as a photographer I get to wear hiking boots, black jeans and a t-shirt no matter how fancy everyone else looks. Dems da rules.
The red carpet was a pain in the ass. Shooting there is not much fun. Lots of shouting and elbowing. Worse than usual.
But the Stage Theatre am Potsdamer Platz offered four flights of balcony with a gorgeous staircase leading to each landing. And by gorgeous, I mean ugly but with low white ceilings. You know what that means: studio everywhere. Here are some prize winners. Note the light mod all around them known to most people as a ceiling. This was one on-camera flash, well balanced and bounced. Nice and Strobist-y.
The crowd being younger meant that a lot of the nominees and winners were more willing to take thirty seconds during the party afterwards for a shot. Also, did I mention the major sponsorship? There was really good food there. Like currywurst (a Berlin speciality that defies description), Dunkin Donuts and kimchi-filled asian fusion rice things.
As waiters came around and I was waiting for a familiar face to stroll by for a shot, I realized that the caterers were not only the unsung backbone of an event like this – which they always are – but this time they were mostly dressed up into roles, too. So I treated them like the stars I was supposed to photograph and asked they would lend me their likeness for thirty seconds. Basically all agreed.
And there you have it: today’s installation of art responding to photojournalism. There is nothing quite like fighting fire with fire.