Getting backstage of a drag show and capturing the vibe with my brand of event photography is totally my jam. When Fou Fou Ha! (a travelling drag show from Dallas, Texas) asked me to capture their performance for a social media push, I was on it!
When photographing a cast of performers I have just met, I make a point of introducing myself personally and make sure everyone is comfortable with my presence and, just as importantly, my camera. Even though I feel like I shouldn’t have to say so, it also helps to make assurances that nothing unflattering will be made public. This is when people open up to me and start to invite my camera.
By the time the curtain rises, the cast knows that I am on their side. They watch for my lens and ham it up for the shot.
How was the drag show?
The cast was delightful! The show was hilarious and touching in turns.
Their giant, technicolor wigs were difficult to frame sometimes. Either I had to make room or cut it out of the frame. Both seemed odd, but what else should I expect from a band of psychedelic, neo-vaudevillian, lingerie and heel wearing guttermouths?
Everything about them was deliberately clownish. This allowed them to do and say the most sexually charged and socially insightful things. The final scene of the show particularly struck me as beautiful and vulnerable. They soliloquized and sang about how their wigs and makeup were their social armour. Taking them off made them feel truly naked. Then, as a group, they slowly pulled off their wigs and smeared their makeup with tears, bearing their true selves to the audience.
If you get the chance to see them, I recommend it. Here are some highlights of my drag show event photography.