Blood Ensemble

Making Theatre Essential

What’s it like to photograph moment work?

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Cassi Gallagher has been Blood Ensemble’s go-to photographer forat least the last six months. She’s been kind enough to come to our rehearsals on our whims and spend hours at photo-calls and publicity shoots. She’s got a great eye for projects both large and small scale and really knows how to capture the emotion of a moment in live theatre. And of course, photographing devising is not without it’s challenges. She’s becoming a pro and photographing shows that mostly take place in the dark.
We’ve been really lucky to be able to utilize her for our work. So, we sat down with her and asked her some questions about what it’s like to work with Blood Ensemble, photograph devising, and her connection to photography in general.   
Hometown: Cheney, WA
Education: Journalism at Western Washington University 
Current job: Forum Moderator at Big Fish Games
When and how did you get your start as a photographer?
I got my start sometime in high school when I took up my dad’s old Pentax K1000. I thought this was something I could really get into. So when I went to college I was going to major in Photography. Unfortunately, that didn’t end up working out and I thought that maybe I would just stick with photography as a hobby. However, shortly after I discovered Photojournalism, which ended up being perfect for me!

What does devised theatre mean to you?
I have always loved collaborative work and I’ve found this is what it really is about. It takes collaboration to a whole new level because everyone is working on everything together- the moments, the stories, and the flow. It’s less about the assigned roles and more about what can be created together.

How did you get involved with Blood Ensemble?
My dear friend Samantha Cooper was involved with the group. I was fortunate enough to meet the group through her, and they knew how much I enjoy doing photography. It was a perfect match.
What is photographing a moment rehearsal is like?
Moment Rehearsal 
Photo By Cassi Gallagher

This is where I get to hone in all my skills I learned as a photojournalist. As a photojournalist you really want to be a fly on the wall, because you want to capture real life as it’s happening. The subject isn’t focused on the camera, because it might as well not be there. This is what I feel like when I am photographing a moment. I want to capture the moment but I also want to do all I can to stay out of the way and not disrupt it. 


What is the most challenging aspect of photographing something not yet fully created?
I would have to say, trying to figure out what moment to focus on. Often when photographing, you can’t always catch them all, so you get what you can and pour your focus into what you feel will be the most important shots. However with devised work, you don’t know what is going to go and what is going to stay, so I just capture as much as I can!
Goddesses – Blood/Sailing
Photo by Cassi Gallagher

From your point-of-view behind the lens, what is the different between Blood Ensemble’s last show Blood/Sailing and Nevermore? 
I think this show will be much more psychological. With the last show, it was more about the over arching theme – I was photographing grand scenes with kids trying to escape through a mountain, or goddesses arranged in a beautiful formation. With this show you’re really trying to get in these character’s heads to figure out a mystery, so it’s much more about photographing faces, expressions and trying to capture that mystery.

Besides theatrical photography, what’s your favorite thing to photograph?
I love photographing nature. I’m big on hiking and camping, so if I can get out and photograph that, I’m always happy to do it.
What’s up next Cassi?
Nothing yet, but I’m excited to see what’s up next too!
Will you come see Nevermore and tell all your friends about how awesome it is?
Absolutely! I’m so excited for this show.

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