The changing face of the photo-call.

The changing face of the photo-call.

Anyone who shares my interests in photography, serious theatre, and south-west London will understand why I was so pleased to be invited to a photo-call at the Royal Court Theatre right on Sloane Square, to capture some images from the new current production: White Pearl. (Plot synopsis: Six women having a bad day at work) Indeed, if one was to draw a Venn Diagram of the possible points of union of these interests, this event would be quite close to the very heart of it.

I say invited. It's possible some would say I invited myself, and it was not a run of the mill photo-call, but something new to me, a photo-call specifically set up for bloggers and other social media users. This kind of thing may have been going on for ages, but I hadn't come across it before.

As I tend to do, I arrived early at the theatre, and was hanging about in the underground bar and cafe (ever so good, and in case you don't know it, here's a photo ).


Rather than explain this, let's just say, I was so early, I was presumed to be there for a slightly earlier event, a press call for the mainstream press. I looked similar to the others who were there for that event, and I had all the gear, so it wasn't surprising. So, entirely accidentally I ended up attending two photo-calls, one right after the other. One for, what I presume to be the mainstream press, and one Social Media related event.

I noticed that the photographers for the first event, were behaved in a way that was familiar to me from my short spell working on Fleet Street, back in the day - as a group they all stood together (as they were in a Theatre, this had to be in the same row). It makes sense when attending a multitude of events to work out a mutual way of operating, as it means they all keep out of everyones way, but it also means they are going to be taking very similar pictures. It reminded of me of how surprised I was at my first Fleet Street press event I attended many years ago, when there was a discussion before-hand amongst all the photographers as to which lens they would use, so that everybody would keep the same comfortable distance from the action.

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First Session

At the second, Social Media Event, the participants were, on average, much younger and more diverse, (I felt noticeably older than everyone else there) and once set loose in the theatre they scattered around the auditorium, photographing on their phones as much as on any camera. More Samsung and Apple than Nikon and Cannon. I'm willing to bet the pictures are going to all be so different, if not so technically precise as those created at the first session.

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Second Session

Hopefully you will be able to track down their images, if you are interested in seeing them, on social media, by searching for #WhitePearl.

As for the production itself, I can't really comment, as we only saw a few short segments. It was press night later on, so there should be a number of reviews available now. I will say that it was an impressively colourful set and the dialog I heard was sharp and snappy, and it was great to see a main London stage with so many women on it, although this isn't exactly a first at the Royal Court.

As for my pictures from the event, well, I suspect they will be nothing out of the ordinary, but here are a few low resolution versions anyway. If one adds a section on messing about on social media to my interests, then the Venn diagram of this event is looking even more perfect. And yes, Royal Court Theatre, I'd love to be invited back, to any other kind of similar event, in the future. Thank you.

White Pearl, at the Royal Court Theatre until 15th June 2019
Written by Anchuli Felicia King
Directed by Nana Dakin

Not for public reproduction. All images subject to copyright protection.

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