In 2005 my dad gave me a DSLR camera as a graduation present, and in 2008 I was feeling vaguely bored/dissatisfied with the life I'd created since graduation, so one night I googled "Boston, join the circus." I found a MySpace page for a new show that was happening that December called The Slutcracker, I immediately emailed the director ... and one month later I was standing mostly naked on stage waiting for the curtain to go up, wondering if this was the best thing to ever happen to me or a literal nightmare someone was having. The minute the lights came on and the cheering began I knew exactly which category it fell into. The next night, I brought that camera.
I've been shooting backstage at The Slutcracker almost every year since that year of its inception. It inspired me to study documentary photography more seriously and to get out of all the "auto" modes on my camera. It made up my entire portfolio when I applied to Salt.
Note: you can now enlarge images on my blog by clicking on them.
Every year I wonder if this is the last year I'll shoot this show backstage. I must have all the photos that could be taken by now, right? But every year the show gets better: dancers travel from all over to audition and participate. The director and choreographer of the show has now made this her full time job, and it shows. The budget has grown, the props and costumes become more fantastical. And if there's one thing I learned in documentary studies, it was this: the minute you think you've got it, that you're tired, that you've seen everything there was to see: that's exactly when to stay. The best images come to those who wait. You'll never regret staying and shooting more.
Here are the albums from 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008. It's a fun way to watch the growth of the show, and a strangely scientific method to see the growth of a photographer. (By the way, I realized recently that I shot backstage in 2014 and still haven't processed those photos! That's what happens when you get engaged, move cities and officially start your own full time business just weeks after filling a card with images. Still can't wait to see what I got and share those.)
Did I "get it" this year? I think 10 years will be a nice round number. We'll see how 2017 feels.