The Puppet Show
by Sarah Berrett
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to photograph Zan and Dan Raynor, husband and wife who operate a traveling marionette show. With such a unique assignment I wanted to be able to make a carnival-like, fun and lively multimedia project. I searched through a selection of musical loops from Garage Band to find the music that would set the stage for the photographs. Usually the music would be an after-thought to bridge the already shot pictures, but with this assignment finding the music first helped me understand how it needed to be created. I had originally planned to shoot a sequence of photos of Zan and Dan holding the marionettes, and being playful with the puppets in front of a white backdrop. I thought the different expressions strung together with the movement of the marionettes would really convey the vibrant personalities of the couple. But when I unloaded the hoards of equipment I brought to the assignment, I realized I had only packed 2 backdrop stands. Which meant I had to choose between using a backdrop and using my lights. I chose the lights. I had some time to spend with Dan while Sara Sullivan, the reporter who wrote the story, interviewed Zan in a separate room. Dan told me that people are always so amazed when they see this huge marionette stage unravel from two small black boxes. And it was quite incredible to see the process. So I realized that photographing him putting up the set, from a tripod, with two white lightning strobes angled to throw nice even light on the stage, would be a fun, unique sequence for the slideshow. One of the most useful skills to have as a photographer is to be able to adapt on the spot to things that donít go the way youíve planned. In the past I would get flustered, but with experience itís getting easier to create something new, or even better, when things donít go as planned.