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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rob Guest Endowment Concert

Sylvie Paladino performs
"Beauty and the Beast"in duet with a recording of Rob Guest
Hello Blog! You'd think that I would visit you more often, wouldn't you? I mean, you and I have been doing this for a long time now! Sorry Blog...I have been all over the place recently! Anyway...enough of the apologies. You get the point, I'm sure.
Last week, my wife, Tash, and I had the privilege to once again photograph the Rob Guest Endowment concert. This is a part of my regular work for ANZ Trustees, who, in this case, care for the Rob Guest Endowment, a trust that sees to the futures of Australia's best upcoming theatre performers. It was set up in honour of the late Rob Guest himself, one of this country's most respected performers and mentors within the industry. I had the joy of seeing him perform as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables here in Melbourne several years ago. His version of "Bring Him Home" brought me to tears. His sudden passing was felt with much sadness by those who knew him and worked with him. I never had that privilege as a photographer, but I am glad that I was able to see him perform.
Winner, Blake Bowden with music director,
Kellie Dickerson

This year's Endowment concert once again revealed the potential of young performers within this country. Each year I am astounded at their talent. Having been a singer on the odd occasion myself, I am awed by their abilities. Both musical and theatrical, these young people are offered some rather wonderful opportunities by the trust and their futures within the industry are given a serious boost. This year's winner was a young man named Blake Bowden. His performances were certainly memorable and his win well deserved. That said, I would not have wanted to be a judge on that night. Not from what I saw and heard. I am sure the margins were very fine indeed. 
At the helm of the musical performances on this evening was the lovely Kellie Dickerson. Kellie was Rob Guest's partner in life, and I was left in awe of her ability to conduct an orchestra while the voice of the man she still loves sings "Beauty and the Beast" along with Sylvie Paladino in a profoundly touching duet. Even I had to prevent a tear or two from inhibiting my work during that performance.

As photographers, our job is to capture the evening as it happens. In this regard, I have to admit to feeling proud about the things we teach in our workshops. Understanding metering, light, walking the arc and lens perspective all come into play if you are to produce jpegs within the camera that can be used immediately from that camera. These are the processes and techniques we teach at our Creative Photo Workshops and events. I am not interested in hours of Lightroom or PhotoShop, and frankly I am not paid enough to be bothered with it. I quote for my shooting time. Therefore, I don't want to work for more hours without pay. Do you? 
If I were shooting this event ten or fifteen years ago on film, I would have been compelled to employ my 'in camera' prowess. Why? Because I would have had to turn up with perfect transparencies the day after. I see no reason why I cannot now follow the same process and produce hundreds of jpegs in the camera that I can upload quickly and straight from the camera. My wife did the same thing, metering for the highlights, shooting to produce jpegs, not RAW files that are 'shot to the right' and need finishing. Yes, there are arguments for and against but I often feel that the humble jpeg is underestimated. Do I shoot RAW files? Absolutely. Do I use many of them for my customers? Rarely. After the concert, I resized them in Lightroom and uploaded them to Dropbox for my client. 
Job Done.
I believe that the time honoured process of producing in camera needs to be considered seriously, even by the neophyte photographer who has only ever known digital. In this regard, long time shooters like me have a distinct advantage. Conversely, my wife has only ever shot digitally as a professional, but she knows the processes behind the production of SOOC jpegs. 
Thank you ANZ Trustees and The Rob Guest Endowment for another fabulous night out and the honour of being part of this philanthropic event.

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller