Recently I was asked to help a friend out by doing some event photography. Even though it meant sacrificing all of Saturday afternoon until well after midnight and even though I never really liked event photography (done some weddings), for a friend I am always there!
And what an event it was! The annual beauty pageant to elect Germany’s Miss XXL!
The annual Miss Rubensengel beauty pageant is a very prestigious award and commands a lot of attention in Germany, as the market share for XXL models increases continually with demand for respective clothing.
It was very interesting to be there as a staff photographer and have a look behind the scenes and see how it is all organised. Of course, since I was doing a friend a favour I did not get any compensation but that didn’t stop me from giving everything in the fight for the best shot against the other photographers competing for the best spots up front and against the TV teams!
You see, an event of this magnitude is a battle for staff, more so for photographers than anybody else. Especially in this case, where the stage setup and the lighting were definitely not made with good images in mind! There were a lot of nice colourful stage lights that, however, provided almost no luminance and illumination. There was only one spot from which there was no interference from other structures, like pillars or poles and that was right behind the jury. So imagine about ten photographers and three camera teams vying for dominance in a space of about 3 square meters.
There were shoves, there were heads that popped up in front of lenses, there was flash crossfire, huge professional cameras with external batteries, gargantuan f/2,8 zoom lenses and humungous strobes! In the midst of all this I was grinning happily to myself for not having to brace tons of equipment to get the shots. My trusty Nikon F80 with its small 50mm f/1,8 lens was all I needed to take the necessary shots on high-speed expired (muahahaha) film (e.g. Ektapress 1600 CN, Ektachrome 400X for xpro or MACO 400UP b/w), without hefting around expensive and very heavy equipment. There were a lot of curious glances in my direction to say the least! One photographer remarked ’That sounds very analogue!". I grinned to myself content.
All in all it was a great experience and my assignment-giver was amazed at the results, especially because my event lomography was so different than the photoshopped-to-death digital images she is accustomed!