Sunday saw me take part in the Exposition of Cabaret, Vintage Fashion in Burlesque. After quite a bust few weeks mostly concerned with commercial photography work it was fun to do something a bit different on a Sunday.
As regular readers of my blog will know I’m quite actively involved in the burlesque and vintage scenes and attending the event was a good way to publicise my portraiture and vintage makeover photography work. To give people a taster I ran a fun photo booth where people could take away a post-card sized snap then and there. I was lucky enough to be assisted by Sarah Charlie Harding, well-known on the local burlesque scene as a stage-hand par excellence.
The booth included various vintage items, quirky paraphernalia and fancy dress so people could have a bit of fun. Although we were working in a very small space – not much more than 6×6′ – we could still turn on the quality. The equipment involved a Bowens Studio flash head with a silver umbrella, a laptop running Lightroom, and a Canon EOS 30D tethered to the machine so images would appear instantly for Exposition visitors to view before prints were made on a commercial Mitsubishi dye-sublimation printer in seconds. Many people were impressed that we’d assembled a complete studio and print lab in such a compact location.
It’s the set-up I use for my occasional events photography, everything from charity balls, to burlesque nights, to corporate black tie dinners. I try to get away from the usual bland events shots and try to make each portrait as close a quality, modern studio portrait as possible to give guests a lasting memento from the event. To learn more about events photography, check out this page.
We managed to take some beautiful ‘straightforward’ portraits and some energetic, quirky ones. Burlesque events attract some impeccably-dressed people and none more so that impossibly talented Bath-based swedish comic book artist, Jennie Gyllblad, who I’d conversed with many times online but had never managed to meet in the flesh. As I’d suspected, Jennie proved to be stunningly photogenic, decked out in an ornate belly dance-esque costume, full of sumptuous textures and sparkles which came out a treat on camera. You can enjoy some of her artwork on her website here, and follow her Jespiration! blog here, where you can even find a sketch the artist made of our photo booth.
On stage, visitors were treated to burlesque and cabaret performances from the likes of popular local dance company the Flaming Feathers, ‘poetrix’ Murial Lavendar and the final of the ‘Alternative Queen of Bath’ – a kind of bizarre alternative beauty pageant.
Various vintage and burlesque inspired stalls sold everything from lingerie to vintage fur coats to cupcakes. The Pop Up Parlour were doing a brisk trade turning ladies into vintage bombshells with their exceptional hair and makeup skills.
What really made the event was the Spigeltent location. A Spiegeltent, dutch for ‘mirror tent’, is constructed in wood and canvas, beautifully decorated with mirrors and stained glass. Created as an luxury travelling entertainment venue, spiegaltents originated in Belgium during the late 19th Century. Only a few of these original Spiegeltents existence today and function as major attractions at music and arts festivals.
Expo organiser Michelle Ellis Keeler already has plans for next year’s event, which is become a staple of the Bath Frineg Festival calendar so if you missed, look out for 2013.