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  • Behind the image: Nineteenth-century photographic technique captures ‘that moment of intensity post-performance’

Behind the image: Nineteenth-century photographic technique captures ‘that moment of intensity post-performance’

Images for the 2015/16 Season taken with a nineteenth-century tintype camera to reflect the demands and passions of performance on stage.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

9 July 2015 at 5.00pm | Comment on this article

The 2015/16 Autumn Season image, a portrait of Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta, has been released ahead of General Booking on 14 July 2015.

‘We want this image to convey the history and heritage that underpins the Royal Opera House, as well as the continuing excellence seen here on stage’, says Matt Dixon, Creative Director of AKA, the advertising agency responsible for the campaign.

Carlos joined The Royal Ballet in 1998 and during the Autumn Season he is choreographing a dance adaptation of Carmen for the Company. For the autumn guide cover, he was photographed straight after rehearsals.

‘Every moment on the Royal Opera House stage is underpinned by weeks and weeks of rehearsal. By seizing a moment post-rehearsal — which is effectively a performance in front of coaches and peers — our strikingly honest portraits capture not only the integrity of the performance experience, but also the amount of work, preparation and physical effort that contributes to what you see on stage.’

The images are tintypes, taken by specialist photographer Sean Hawkey. Sean uses the ‘wetplate collodion technique’, a method popular in the 1860s.

‘The camera and lens are antiques from the 1800s – the same era as the opera house – and the images were all developed immediately on-site in a mobile darkroom’, explains Matt. ‘The process requires the subject to sit still for eight to 10 seconds. This lengthy exposure time brings an immediacy to the resulting images.’

Images of a different artist will be released each Season.

General Booking for the Autumn Season opens on 14 July 2015

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

9 July 2015 at 5.00pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged Autumn Season, Carlos Acosta, image, Matt Dixon, Photography, Sean Hawkey, season, tintype

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