As you may know I have a BFA from SMFA / Tufts and I am a huge lover of the arts, so I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Stacy Murray contacted me to do the third cover story for CT Voice’s spring 2020 issue featuring the talent from the Broadway production The Inheritance. CT Voice is a relatively new publication — it launched in 2019 as the exclusive magazine for the LGTBQ community in Connecticut. It is a division of Seasons Magazine, where Stacy Murray is the Creative Director. I have worked with Stacy before on both publications and love the creative freedom she gives her photographers.
The portraits were to be of the lead actors in playwright Matthew Lopez’s Broadway epic The Inheritance. The two-part play, which alters E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End touches on themes of what it means to be a gay man through several generations, as well as how to discover one’s authentic self. Eight years before writing the play Lopez was selected as the Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage and all three actors from our shoot are graduates of Yale School of Drama. I loved that I was able to work with budding stars in addition to the fact that they all have ties to Connecticut — it’s so lovely to see people from Connecticut receiving notoriety.
Stacy knew she wanted a cover shot as well as photographs for the interior story. She asked for a variety of photographs including a group photo in a studio setting as well as individual portraits of the actors — but how I would visually portray that was completely up to me. I love having this freedom because it allows me to exercise my creative vision while capturing the unique personalities of the people I’m photographing. I went with a classic musician and band magazine portrait aesthetic, drawing inspiration from Rolling Stone Magazine shoots and Annie Leibowitz. Since it was the spring issue and I wanted to highlight the actor’s authentic personalities, I decided to use very colorful backdrops.
For the group photographs, I knew I wanted to highlight the closeness of the three of them and that they should be barefoot because that is how they appear in the play. I lit the photographs so that I had the option to either process them in color or black in white but ended up going with color in the end. The day of the shoot was an absolute delight. All three actors arrived in the morning with their PR agents, and a hair and makeup artist at Contra Studios in Chelsea which I had rented out. I also hired an assistant to help me for the day, brought my gear, coordinated the location & timing, and editing of the final photographs. The shoot was so smooth and a huge amount of fun!
My favorite part was the actor’s personalities and how handsome they were. They were each so energetic, charismatic, easy-going, personal and collaborative to work with. In the end, I’d say my favorite photographs from the styling standpoint were the individual portraits of each actor. I went in aiming to have their personalities shine through and am so happy to have achieved that. Stacy ended up loving the photographs as well. They are currently being used in print and digital for CT Voices spring 2020 issue. To read more about Arturo Luis Soria, Andrew Burnap, Dylan Frederick and Matthew Lopez’s play The Inheritance, pick up a print copy or check out the digital copy on: http://ctvoice.com/