School House Rock Live at Bryan Station High School
My favorite thing about returning to photography several years ago was getting to shoot stage productions all over Central Kentucky in my role as a cultural journalist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. It was a perfect marriage of my passions for the arts and photography.
A side benefit has been that I have artsy kids, so on the job, I have developed skills that help me document their performances for them and their fellow young artists.
Last week, I got to bring that to full fruition shooting Bryan Station’s production of School House Rock Live, which my daughter was in. It was a historic production in that Station has not presented a musical in years.
I approached shooting it in largely the same way I shoot a show for the paper, coming to final dress rehearsals to get shots as close to what the show looked like as possible. I did go for somewhat broader coverage than usual trying to make sure every kid in the show had some strong images of themselves and ultimately delivering a lot more photos to the director than we do for the paper, where we are going for a handful of images for print and a couple dozen or so images for online galleries.
That’s the technical logistical stuff.
What was really important was creating images that the kids could use to show people what was going on and get them out to the show. What was really important was producing mementos of an experience that these student performers will carry with them the rest of their lives.
An unexpected outcome was – and I claim no credit whatsoever for this idea – the show’s director, Dr. Kristine Lyon, had a picture of each of the principal actors in the production blown up on corkboard with a wide white border around the image. After the final performance, the kids were signing each other’s pictures like yearbooks.
Watching the kids strike the set and share final hugs brought back memories of shows I was in at their age, building that kind of family it takes to tell a story to an audience in a couple hours. Like most anything else we photograph, shows don’t last forever, but the memories can.