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Shooting the Detectives

To paraphrase Elvis Costello, for this shoot, we are “shooting” the Detectives. Creating poster portraits of the greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, in the production of Miss Holmes.
To paraphrase Elvis Costello, for this shoot, we are “shooting” the Detectives. Creating poster portraits of the greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, in the production of Miss Holmes.

The Greatest Detective Photo Shoot

“It’s a really good Sherlock Holmes story, except he’s a she.” Shooting the detective with that much history certainly makes for an interesting challenge!

So, do a photoshoot for the poster that promotes the play and embodies mystery, drama, Victorian London, Penny Dreadfuls and that knowing smile that just curls the lip.

The Footlight Club, America’s oldest continuously running community theater, was back in the studio to promote Christopher M Walsh’s gender bending version of Sherlock Holmes and I couldn’t have been more excited!

Director Alison Walters-Short’s vision for the production was to put on a great English detective mystery.

However, which version of Sherlock and Watson should be the models?

When we were discussing the plan to photograph the key art for the poster, the director, Alison Walters-Short, the producer, Nicole Dongara, and I discussed creating flexible assets that would allow us to create the tall vertical poster as well as the wide, narrow landscape that makes up the banner that goes outside the club.

This meant that we would photograph each character separately on a grey background and then layer them in post production to fit the composition of each piece of marketing.

For the character portraits, we would add a Victorian style wall paper to imply the period.

A huge thank you to costumer Molly McGowan for her attention to details in creating these period pieces!

She and I had previously worked on the Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike photo shoot.

What if Sherlock was a Woman?

Jennifer Bean, cast as Sherlock, was brilliant, as always. I have had the opportunity to photograph her several times over the years. She has been a regular with The Footlight Club.

The most recent time was for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. 

One of my favorite sessions with her was for Reckless back in 2014.

We talked over who her Sherlock was and she brought it to life!

Doctor Dorothy Watson, I presume?

Sam Moon was also in front of my camera. She was the lead in Henry Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

For that poster shoot, we had her screaming in frustration for the poster.

This time, in the role of Sherlock’s faithful companion, she got to channel an inner strength.

David H. Brown as Mycroft Holmes

Mycroft, Sherlock’s brother, is an interesting character to play, and therefore, to shoot.

David walked a fine line between aristocratic snobbery and caring older brother.

We settled on smug.

Brittany Kamson as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

I got to work with Brittany earlier in the season on Roe by Lisa Loomer.

This time, her role was more of being the steady rock in the hospital where she and Dr Watson work.

She brought that quiet strength to our portrait session!

Emma Joyce as Inspector Lestrade

In this version of The Sherlock Holmes universe, Lestrade is a more sympathetic character.

At the same time, there is an apprehension to the character, dealing with the Victorian politics in the play.

Emma articulated the role in front of the camera and we got the shot.

Alison, the director, couldn’t be in the studio for the character portraits, so she sent over prompts to help us capture the correct character attitudes.

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