Task 1d: 2d Images

I have a huge amount of photos taken over my performing career: because of the nature of what I have specialised in, I often find that I am performing to a bank of iPhone cameras rather than to people. (Myself and my fellow performers have been known to take advantage of this; stealing peoples phones or photo-bombing selfies during our acts!)

How the audience looks from the stage!

However this comes with a couple of issues, other than the obvious that it's annoying and inconsiderate: 

* What if I don't like the particular photo that has been taken?
There are often proper photographers in the audience and there have been many occasions where images of me have popped up on their websites. Sometimes I actually hate the picture (my face does weird things when I'm performing!). Nice photographers will either a) ask permission before posting the pictures so I can veto the pictures before they go up, or b) delete or untag particularly unflattering images if I send them a message to do so.
However there are lots of bad pictures of me out of there doing the rounds, either as part of the work of a photographer who has either not asked my permission or refused to delete photos, or buried in peoples photo albums with titles like "Debbie's Hen Party". The latter I am never likely to see or find, but I worry about the presentation of myself on the internet if I don't have control over my online image.

* How is the image going to be used in the future?
The law of photography copyright states that photographers *always* have the right of use over the image unless there is a written contract stating otherwise. This applies even in situations where the subject has paid for the photoshoot: the photographer can still utilise those images for their own use if they feel they want to.
Again, nice photographers will still ask permission, for example, to use a wedding photo on their website. But they don't have to.
Friends of mine have come across products with their image on being sold for profit without their knowledge; again sometimes they hate the particular image being used. I recently took part in a photo session for a photographer's book: the book was published and is being sold with images in it of myself and other performers that I think are terrible (both quality-wise and because of how the performers look in them!). We were not asked which images we would like used, and we are not paid anything from the sale of the book - we weren't even offered a free copy as thanks for our time! Photos of myself and friends have also appeared in magazines and editorials without the model or performers permission.

It's a tricky business and to some extent we don't have much control over our online presence in this respect.

When I started this task I had to think carefully about which images I used. On my performer professional profiles I have a selection of images for each act, that I feel best displays the style of that particular routine. However, given the nature of what I do, this comes with its own set of ethical implications:

* My routines nearly always involve some sort of partial nudity.
   - people don't necessarily want to see that.
   - if the denoument of the routine is partial nudity, do I want to 'give away' the ending, so to speak?
   - some social media sites have rules governing what they deem 'explicit' images (I have friends whose profiles have been deleted for breaking the rules!)

I know, however, that as I self-promote, potential employers need to see elements of what they are booking. In this respect visual aids (photographs and videos) are extremely important! I believe, more so than in other areas of performing arts. My performance portfolio is a record of the work I've done, the standard I've achieved and the style I perform in

A teaser video I shot for a recent act

When I work on a new act I sometimes post a teaser clip to whet interest, or add pictures of elements of the costume to Instagram, or even just an audio clip of the music I'm planning on using. This all adds up to keeping my online presence interesting and relevant and maintaining interest in my product (i.e. Me!)

So, in finalising this task I decided to add a selection of images showing my development as a Burlesque and Cabaret performer, from my very first show up to my most recent: I believe that it shows how my style has changed and evolved, and how I have developed as a performer.

Photos 1 & 2 : Taken from my very first shows: I started with a very 'cheesecake' style, using storytelling to create the arc of an act.
Photos 3 - 8 : I started to experiment with more alternative styles of performance including costume, styling, music and skills to enhance my routines
Photos 9 & 10 : Calling upon my training I often utilised several different styles of dance such as pointe work and lyrical dance.
Photos 11 - 17 : I am currently finding that I am most comfortable performing in a 'classic showgirl' style. I make use of lighting, music, extravagant costumes and props to create high-energy routines.

It's been interesting looking back through my old photos and considering how I've progressed and changed in my performance style - even if I do feel slightly narcissistic! 

* All photographs have been credited and used with the permission of the photographer.


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