Clowning about...

I was contacted by Jack Stark and was asked to come down and take some shots for The Why Not Institute. These were to be added to the website and used in promotional material.

I traveled to the location, a church hall in Clapham, South London and shocked two old ladies as I walked into the church by mistake. I was quickly ushered out before I burst into flames and found the hall. Met up with Jack and Angela and had a quick chat about the set ups, we were to be joined by Ness Gracious later on. This would be the first time I would be working with people on a green screen, so I had to make sure there was very little green reflections and spill over onto clothing. 

We started with some simple head shots to establish characters, finger pointing (to point at objects on the website) and finished off with holding a large piece of paper which would be filled in at post production.

We then went out side to shoot. We tried to do a series of shots where Jack and Angela were traveling with instruments. One of which was bulky and heavy so we took turns with the large instrument being carried on each others back. As you can see Jack seemed to be either enjoying himself or was experiencing immense back pain.

Look! Its green!

Possible internal hemoraging too.

Getting in to the spirit of clowning I asked if I could throw in a few ideas. I had my 10-20mm f3.5 lens with me which close up can really distort facial features but I was thinking more along the lines of enlarging other features. Jack and Angela sat on the pavement surrounded by the instruments and I crouched down to their level. Instantly the legs and feet expanded due to the wide angle nature of the lens but as the heads were further back they were not distorted. This was also true when Jack pushed his hat towards the lens, it made it look massive!

Large feet..

Massive hat..

Ness Gracious arrived soon after so they all changed into cloths more suited to musicians and we played around with trombones. One of them had the mouth piece missing so in the shot below I asked Jack to shout into it. From then on things got a little insane..


Just insane...

The sun was still shining so we went back outside to shoot more shots with Ness, again they all sat down and I used the 10-20mm and this time asked Angela to point at me. This lens does have a good close focus range and at f3.5 I managed to make the finger sharp and the faces behind burred out. While working with them for the day I noticed how each character interacted with each other. It seemed that Ness' character was more interested in apply her make up than help move the instruments so for the shot below I asked for Angela and Jack to look back at Ness while she looks into her compact.

Look there is a photographer!

Look there is a photographer!

At least someone is helping..

At least someone is helping..

I really enjoyed working on the collaboration and it was good throwing some ideas into the mix. Of course I cant let this go with out doing my own twist with things. I used some of the green screen shots to do some simple portrait work.

Silva (Angela de Castro)

Kiki (Jack Stark)

Kiki (Jack Stark)

Ness (Grace Miller)


The Why Not Institute is the UK’s only organisation totally dedicated to contemporary clowning. They are a community, offering resources, developing performance, and nourishing support networks for clowns and others interested in the approach of its founder, Angela de Castro (as well as that of a growing band of collaborators and associates). The Institute is dynamic, shaping and responding to the resurgence in modern clowning, with a special focus on clowning within theatre traditions.