Back in February we went to David Cooper’s East Vancouver photography studio to shoot our ‘advance photography’ images for the 2014 Bard season. We’ve had a lot of lovely feedback on the images so we thought we’d give you a behind the scenes look at how they were created!

David Cooper on the creative process & challenges:

Creating marketing images for the plays many months in advance of a show presents many challenges. None of the costumes are built and the actors have not started rehearsals. The challenge is to create iconic images of the shows rather than showing a moment from the actual play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream director Dean Paul Gibson (who is also Bard’s Associate Artistic Director) acted as art director and was present at all the of the shoots for the four plays.

Dean sent me some sample ideas for the look of the photography and they all had realistic backgrounds. In the studio I shoot on a white seamless background and can add in anything in post-production. I suggested we hire Emily Cooper to create four collage sky backgrounds that would have a colour palette for each show.

It was definitely a team effort with Emily, Dean & Bard Director of Marketing Heather Kennedy, along with Head of Wardrobe Sydney Cavanagh who arranged the hair, make-up and costumes.

We shot all five images in my studio over four days.Bob Frazer ready for his close up as Shagspeare in Equivocation by Bill Cain

Jennifer Lines on set as Ariel with David & Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper on collaborating with David & creating the background images: 

When the team approached me to create backgrounds for the Bard on the Beach brochure I was thrilled. David (my Dad) and I have collaborated in the past, but we haven’t had the opportunity to do so for many years. This was the perfect project to put our creative brains together. With Dean as the art director, our challenge was to create a background for each image that represented the play. Our brainstorm session gave me a starting point for colour palettes and from there I combined many different skies and painterly textures to create the feeling we were looking for. After a few rounds of experimenting with colours and skies, we locked down our favorites and went to print!

There are many different skies that went into each photo, probably about 20 layers and some of them were actually photos that David had taken on a trip to Hawaii.

The top photograph of Kyle Rideout (Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) was also taken during the shoot and we wanted to share it with you!

You can also check out the behind the scenes video here that David created after the shoot, featuring Scott Bellis (Bottom), Jennifer Lines (Ariel) & Dean Paul Gibson. And all of David & Emily’s beautiful images can be seen on the front page of our website here.