At this spot lies another example of why I want to do more events. Doing so provides an opportunity to capture shots that are near impossible to recreate in a studio. The atmosphere, the vibe, the whole aesthetic is something that you can only get on location. It's exactly what I was able to get in this photo. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself as usual. Let me backtrack a bit to give some history on how this picture came to be.
We have this function here in the city known as Say What! Poetry. It takes place every Thursday night at a little nook bar called House of Bricks. Poets from around the city (or even those visiting) get the opportunity to step up to the mic to recite their favorite pieces of work. Or in some cases where the poet is known to the audience it may be the crowd's favorite piece from that poet. No different than any other poetry slam you may have seen.
I'm not sure how long Say What! has been going on now. I know it's been a while because it seems like I've been seeing the posts for it each week for quite a while. And yet in all that time it never dawned on me to attend one night to see about getting photos. It just so happened that "Love Jones" came on again one night which is when the inspiration came to me. Seeing Darius on stage had me thinking that it would be funky to get some images of poets doing their thing on stage. Wait...we have that right here in Des Moines! So it was on.
I contacted my friend Leonard who puts the event on to see if he would be cool with it. It's not often that I would do a TFP for an event, but I made an exception in this case. It was really for my benefit anyway so I was okay with making that exception. Leonard was good with it as well. I also wanted to make sure the poets would sign off. Didn't want to have their game thrown off by my occasional flash. He said it wouldn't be a problem so we were good.
It turned out that I captured at least half a dozen images from that evening that were just absolutely phenomenal. I am not even exaggerating. I would move positions so I would get the poets from different angles in different lights. Each one was even more amazing then the next. The combination of the lighting in there with angles at which I was hitting them was giving me just what I wanted and then some. There were three different images from that night up for consideration on this countdown. It was so tough to narrow down that I almost broke my rule and put two in.
Ultimately I went with this one because of all the different aspects it has in just one image. It's as if you're seeing the poetess from the perspective of the audience. Complete with another audience member in front of you also entranced by her words (ed. note: the back of the person's head you see is Leonard). Once again the black and white sets it off to give the simplistic feel that should coincide with poetry. To remind us that sometimes words are enough. And sometimes a picture to match those words is the icing on the cake...