Through the Lens: How to photograph the Harlem Shake and a theatrical donkey
- Credit: Archant
IT has been a dramatic few weeks for photographer Su Anderson and here she shares how she tackled some of her more challenging assignments.
Su said: “I had to go to a farm in Essex to photograph Charlie, an 18-year-old Donkey, who was to take the stage in Carmen at the Regent Theatre on last weekend.
“Charlie and his many donkey friends surrounded me in their field and began posing for photographs. They were all very friendly and every time I turned around there was a donkey nuzzling up against me.
“When I entered the field I saw a lone Wellie sitting abandoned and felt bad for the person walking around with only one boot on (loads of silly thoughts run through my head as I’m shooting). Then I found out that the Wellie was a favourite toy of the donkey’s and especially Charlie who likes to chew on them.
“When he got the Wellie in his mouth, my heart melted a little, and I knew that I had captured a photo I will love for years to come.”
Having learnt from her mistake, Su said: “Don’t have a camera bag the colour of hay because donkeys, cows, goats and sheep will like to chew on it!”
This week Su was dispatched to another field - this time one hosting a football match.
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“Wednesday night I was sent to the fields at Kesgrave High School to photograph the Waterside Football Club who had made a video for the “Harlem Shake,” which they then posted on You Tube.
“I had no clue what the Harlem Shake was when I went to the assignment (I often learn what it is I’m shooting when I show up to an event). After a quick view of their video on someone’s phone, they brought out the Chewbacca mask worn in the video.
“When the team and I made it out onto the pitch we took a standard line-up shot of the team and then I told them to they could do whatever they wanted in the next shots. “Suddenly players where hanging off the goal, laying on the ground in silly positions (one was called the bicycle) and others had moved out of my frame.
“After I vetoed a few positions and paused to recover from a laughing fit, I got them all into view and captured a really fun photo.”
Su’s tip for wannabe photographers: “Watch out for the footballs sailing past your head when shooting on a pitch.”
From diva donkeys and fiesty footballers to choirs seeing red - Su had another theatrical job on her hands when she went along to the Mercury Theatre, Colchester to photograph Funky Voices.
“It wasn’t a typical day at the Mercury Theatre. There were nearly 600 singers there and they couldn’t quite fit on the stage to record their version of “Relight my Fire” - so I had to take centre stage!
“Funky Voices Director Sandra Colston led the singers from Essex and Suffolk during a recording of the Take That classic for Red Nose Day.”
Experienced news photographer Su, offered this tip: “Leave a trail of bread crumbs (or just pay attention) when you’re led into a theatre, a school, or any large building as you are often left on your own to get back out. “
As if that wasn’t enough - Su was given the final challenge of photographing a dog.
“I can’t count how many times people have said to me while out on an assignment “never work with dogs or children” usually while I’m photographing dogs or children.
“I wouldn’t say “never,” but what I would say is make sure you have a lot of time and patience when working with dogs and kids because you have to take a bunch of shots to get a few usable ones.
“Diamond, the new Guide Dog puppy was brought by her trainer Penny Parker to Legal and General on Thursday to pick up bags of soft toys the insurance firm staff were donating.
“I was asked for a photo of diamond surrounded by toys and I got it in the end, but it took a lot of work on my part and on Penny Parker’s part to get Diamond to sit still long enough.”
Offering up a final tip, Su said: “Guide Dogs are not to be petted when they are working and Guide Dog puppies are allowed to have a fuss made about them only when the trainer says so, so always ask before approaching any Guide Dog.”