Ben Turner as Achillies at Lyceum Theatre

Ben Turner as Achillies at Lyceum Theatre

The Iliad – and the question of art direction

I recently shot these images for The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh’s production of Homers The Iliad. It’s Mark Thomson’s Final show as artistic director there and quite the epic to end on.

Right from the start I pictured a form of multiple exposures to show the main characters in not overly dramatic poses but also showing the chaos they create by the use of blood. I could see it in my mind but I couldn’t show it to the client in advance. Fortunately, Ben Jeffries, Director of Communications at the theatre, was trusting enough to let me try this approach. This is hugely appreciated! It highlighted to me the lack of faith I feel there can be in photographers abilities to bring their own vision to bear on a creative project that all too often can be entirely art directed in advance of any communication with the photographer themselves. There are times I feel it would be more appropriate to don a white lab coat in the exercise of ‘now copy this,’ style of uncreative art direction. The best course is a balance, bringing the ideas of the art director at the early stages of a project to the photographer to see how their creativity together can help create something greater than the sum of the parts. Often a final photograph is the best idea of a non photographer. I wouldn’t dream of telling a designer how to layout their page, it’s not my speciality. So why does it happen the other way around!

Poster for The Iliad at Lyceum Theatre by Homer. Ben Turner as Achillies, Helen by Ameira Darwish and Thetis by Melody Grove

Poster for The Iliad at Lyceum Theatre by Homer. Ben Turner as Achillies, Helen by Ameira Darwish and Thetis by Melody Grove

America Darkish as Helen in the Iliad at Lyceum Theatre

America Darkish as Helen in the Iliad at Lyceum Theatre

Melody Grove as Thetis at Lyceum Theatre

Melody Grove as Thetis at Lyceum Theatre

2 thoughts on “The Iliad

  1. Andrew Paquette

    Of all the illustrations I ever did, my Time cover is my least favorite because it was so heavily art directed. I was handed a tiny xerox of two photos–one of Sigmund Freud, the other of Ivan Pavlov–and a drawing showing exactly how to combine them. My job was to do it in “my style”, but this was hardly possible with the composition made for me and the terrible reference (and awful composition). Still, it is a Time cover, but one I don’t like showing to anyone.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *