When Flash Isn’t Flash

Dancer at 60x60, Stratford Circus 2010
Performers at 60×60, Stratford Circus
(c) Carole Edrich 2010

Don’t use flash

It’s a simple instruction. Given, presumably, because the organiser concerned is accustomed to people who default to flash photography and whose abilities or camera don’t allow them to consider anything else. In the main they are amateurs with very little experience, but whatever their level, the use of flash photography during a dance performance is at best disruptive to the audience and therefore in my opinion rude. At worst it’s dangerous for the dancers who may be distracted, dazzled or temporarily blinded at a critical time.

Dancers at 60x60, Stratford Circus, 2010
Performers at 60×60, Stratford Circus
(c) Carole Edrich 2010

If images are needed for PR many consider it easier to simulate part of the show while controlling the lighting than it would be to shoot the performance itself. That notwithstanding, sometimes – very occasionally nowadays – flash photography is necessary even during a performance, and while used correctly it will render a sharper subject, the photographer risks losing context, atmosphere and lighting as a result.

None of which explains why I felt so insulted last time a promoter told me not to use flash photography. So I’ve decided to blame it on blood sugar.