The play's the thing for Sydney's renowned performing arts production photographer
Heidrun Lohr has been photographing Sydney’s performing arts community for over 20 years. As resident photographer at Belvoir, she has photographed the cream of Australian’s actors in action – Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Hugo Weaving to name a few – and continues to shoot performance of all sorts.
Heidrun, with such a huge catalogue, how are you choosing the pictures?
The concept is to find images that don’t find their way into publicity and the media - to find images that express something more abstract and get to the essence of the performance. To find images that will surprise the viewer and show something that is usually not shown in performance photography.
How many pictures are you going to show?
Between 40 and 50. I’d like to work with different sizes. Some really big, some small. I also like the idea of the sequence where a gesture develops or a movement, and that hardly ever ends up in the media. So it will be a sequence of three or four images with time lapses and then the single image.
Will you keep the celebrity spotters happy by including some of the big names?
Yes, there will be some of the so-called celebrities. But the decision was that we only keep those photos if they really hold up the concept of the exhibition and if they are really interesting and strong. Not just because it is a celebrity.
Could you tell those big name actors were destined for greater things when you shot them early in their careers?
Yes, sometimes you do know: when I photograph someone and – wow – they blow me away.
Anyone in particular come to mind?
Just recently, in The Wild Duck [Belvoir 2011], actress Eloise Mignon – I’ve never seen her before and I was blown away by her. And Jacqueline McKenzie, she was in Hamlet [Belvoir 1994] – that was awesome. She was fantastic. I also had the feeling then. It is a bit dated, but Cate Blanchett I think I photographed her the first time in The Tempest [Belvoir 1995] and she was mind-blowing.
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