Skip to content

Shaun Waller’s portrait photography led him to look into Staged Photographs and he shared his early exploration of the genre with us by looking at the work of five practitioners each with a personal and distinct style. The collaborators Pierre et Gilles who work on fairly tales, burlesque, mythology and fantasy. Gregory Crewdson – large scale townscapes and room interiors. Nick Brandt’s elaborate constructions are directed at the impact of “humankind” on the world. Julia Fullerton-Batten’s project on the history of the Thames through a series of tableaux telling the story of major events. The highly personal work of Erwin Olaf is an exploration of feelings and emotions.

Managing the photographic image is not new, early examples in which fairiy dolls were placed in a garden and photographed were mentioned along with examples of negative manipulation. Photoshopping is a more recent addition to “stage management” techniques.

Our discussion was first about the making of such staging – usually a large construction crew and cast, a large financial outlay and the length of time needed to get the elements assembled properly. Which led us into thinking about our own practice: the identification of a ready made or pre-existing stage area, where the possiblity of positioning some of the ancillary objects in the ‘set’ might be effected and then the positioning of the subject which often meant establishing a collaboration between the photographer and the subject.

At an earlier meeting, Kevin Wood showed photoshopped images he used in his Parkscape project:

Carol Kenna’s subjects collaborated with her to produce ‘staged’ photographs


Tony then took us into the completely different territory portrayed in his book “The Best of Times…The Worst of Times”: a photographic record of the people and living conditions in a number of urban communities in Wales and the North of England in the 1960s. Although he had to establish a personal relationship with the subejct it was not exactly collaborative, he had to snatch the ‘decisive moment’ to capture a picture the charity could use.

Kathryn Alkins went to North Portugal and took photographs of various features that could be used as “stages”.

Our August meeting will be on 17th  and the theme is
Chiaroscuro – Light and Dark, led by Judy Harrington.