Performing for the Camera and Tableau Workshop

A performing arts workshop were carried out for year one students organised by Paul Hill and Maria Falconer. The aim of this workshop was to look at how the body can be used in performing arts to express ideas specifically through the tableau vivant and physical theatre.


Day One: Performing for the Camera 

Why do we take photographs?

  1. To make a record– I was here, I saw this and this event happened. Record shots have context to them.
  2. Editorial– telling a story and bringing its own comment.
  3. Advertise– to encourage the viewer to buy.
  4. Express an idea
  5. Create something new


The first task was to work as a team to create a set of three images based around three key elements within a strict time period of 90 minutes, which were:

  • Create an advertisement image
  • Express an idea
  • Create something new


Here we captured a series of images that told a story through a different perspective in each shot. The series expresses a viewpoint of each individual with the main subject, which is the man, who seems to be unaware of who is watching.


Advertisement shots based on a Mini Cooper car and Vans trainers and an Adidas product. For the advertisement based image we made use of products and items that we were wearing and made use of a car within the car park outside.


To create something new we aimed to be different by giving the impression of entrapment and express the value of freedom.  The challenge was to push our creativity and to produce work under pressure and on a deadline. This required fast thinking and committed team work to produce all three images.

I found this task to be more successful on review of the final images. In such a short time frame I am pleased with the overall outcome and feel as though everyone within the group played an active part in working together towards achieving this set of images.


The second task was to create three simple gestures to use to put together a short dance routine. Each person within the group had the opportunity to capture their own set of images whilst the routine was re performed with a stand in. The aim was to capture the shapes and forms of body parts as they were moving in sequence. This required fast shutter speeds to freeze motion and large apertures to ensure the whole frame was in focus.

As seen in fig. 5&6 the location was changed and the routine was performed again, following the same procedure as above but incorporating furniture and a more structured dance technique that was in a confined area to fill the camera frame. Taking an active role as a performer and photographer provided a complex but organised structure. Allowing us to experience life in front of the camera, also having the opportunity to multi task and learn to take images within a performing arts environment.

Performing arts photography was definitely challenging experience but I feel that this pace of learning, performing and being productive could be beneficial to obtaining a career in performing arts or becoming familiar with the pace as when working as a professional photographer.





Images by others of my participation within the dance routine:

Overall I found this workshop to be a advantageous and a very productive experience.  I am pleased with my overall composition of my images, however they appear slightly grainy due to using high ISO settings to allow for low light conditions and fast shutter speeds.




Day Two: Tableau Vivant  

  Tableau Vivant means a ‘Living Picture’ with specifically posed actors, dancers or models. A construction that tells a story in a single frame

  Task one required production of at least two images whilst working to a deadline of one hour, the brief was to:

  1. Advertise a product
  2. Express an idea

Working as a team our first aim was to find a product that we could advertise. We made use of a Monster energy drink and a pot of Quaker Oats porridge. We used the local park as our location to firstly express hoe energy drinks can give you fuel and speed to run fast. As seen in fig. 1 the model with the energy drink appears to be running much faster with more ease than the second model. Model two appears to be struggling to keep up hence Monster energy drink gives you more strength and stamina.


Our second set of images was still based on advertising but selling a different product. The aim in fig. 2 was to show that you can be healthy and well by eating porridge or be unhealthy and unwell if you go without it. The moral of the story was to encourage the viewer to opt to be more healthy and eat more porridge by playing their envious emotions by seeing an attractive healthy model eat porridge and be like him, rather than the model who doesn’t look as strong and healthy.

Figure. 3 is on the same basis only the unhealthy model is also smoking an E cigarette, again being very envious of the model eating the porridge. It is representing an example that people should be healthier.

Figure. 4 was created for something new. Our original idea was to create an image of a couple in the park holding hands or looking intently at each but we decided to switch around the depiction of the viewer would expect. Using two models representing as a gay couple seems to have much more of an effect on the viewers reaction, making the image more powerful.


Task two was to create a performance image. I decided to make use of the studio and the self timer on my camera to recreate my own style of performance arts image. I made use of a small table and jumped off it to capture my body movement in the air. On review of the images, I found the images needed cropping due to the table being visible in the scene and that flipping the image around so that I am jumping from the opposite side of the picture creates a better effect for my final image in fig. 3.







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