Photojournalism as Art, or something like that

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.

Actress Jamila Saab getting shot on the Red Carpet

Actress Jamila Saab getting shot on the Red Carpet

Monday’s idea is to photograph the caterers and service workers at a star-studded event. Like these actresses in their own right:

Pan Am flight attendants handing out candy in a martini glass

Pan Am flight attendants handing out candy in a martini glass

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.

Actress Lea Mornar, looking over her shoulder on the red carpet

Actress Lea Mornar, looking over her shoulder on the red carpet

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.

Anna Zohra Berrached and Cosima Maria Degler, direcotr and producer of No Fear Award winner "Zwei Mütter", Two Mothers

Anna Zohra Berrached and Cosima Maria Degler, director and producer of No Fear Award winner “Zwei Mütter”, Two Mothers

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.

The Rice-Thing Guy

The Rice-Thing Guy

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.

One of the bartenders

One of the bartenders, slightly less bored by posing for me than by her job.

And there you have it: today’s installation of art responding to photojournalism. There is nothing quite like fighting fire with fire.

 

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