Capturing the Unveiling of Raw Talent: A Night of Photography at No Shame Theatre

Caption: Chelle Leary, my daughter, was the host of No Shame Theatre this night and is here introducing the acts for the night. Sherman Williams is holding the whiteboard. [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 22800, 1/250, ƒ/4, (35mm = 56)]

There’s something magical about witnessing artists stepping onto the stage, unveiling their original material for the first time in front of a live audience. As a photographer, I had the incredible opportunity to document the electrifying atmosphere of No Shame Theatre at the Springer Opera House in Columbus, GA. The excitement was palpable, and I was armed with my trusty Nikon Z9, ready to freeze those fleeting moments of vulnerability, creativity, and raw talent.

Cee Trayvon is performing her comedy set at No Shame Theatre held at the Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia. [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 9000, 1/250, ƒ/4, (35mm = 83)]

With the available light in the venue, my Nikon Z9 proved to be a game-changer. Shooting at various ISO settings ranging from 3200 to 25600, I aimed to maintain a balance between capturing the essence of the performers and ensuring sharpness in their movements. A shutter speed of around 1/250 and an aperture of approximately ƒ/4 to ƒ/5 allowed me to achieve the desired effect.

Photographing an event like this presents challenges, and one of the trickiest aspects is capturing the right moment. Anticipating the mannerisms and nuances of each performer takes time and experience. Some artists were quite dynamic, making it challenging to capture the perfect shot. However, with the incredible 20 frames per second (fps) capabilities of the Nikon Z9, I was able to amass a substantial number of images, enabling me to cherry-pick the finest ones. Out of nearly 3000 photos, I consider only a few hundred true keepers. The rest were technically sound, with sharpness, focus, and exposure on point, but the keeper ratio lies in finding that magical instant.

Kev Williams performs his comedy act at No Shame Theatre [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/4.5, (35mm = 125)]

To ensure I captured each performer’s essence, I constantly moved around the room. Some artists had their hair blocking one side of their face, and unless they happened to glance around the room, I had to adjust my position to obtain a better angle. Additionally, I captured the audience’s reactions by exploring different vantage points, adding depth and context to the photographs.

The audience snaps after Riley Catalpa does a poetry reading. [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/160, ƒ/5, (35mm = 230)]

While I highly recommend experiencing No Shame Theatre firsthand as an audience member, it’s also an incredible opportunity for aspiring artists to try out their new content or explore their hidden talents. No Shame Theatre’s supportive and enthusiastic crowd creates a nurturing environment perfect for honing your skills and gaining valuable feedback.

Dorie Griggs, my wife, was asked to perform some of her comedy [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5600, 1/250, ƒ/4.8, (35mm = 155)]

Attending No Shame Theatre allowed me to witness the birth of artistic expression in its purest form. From the nervous excitement to the exhilaration of applause, every moment was a testament to the human capacity for creativity. As a photographer, it was an honor to document these artists’ journeys, capturing their passion, vulnerability, and the sparks of brilliance that illuminated the stage.

If you’re seeking an unforgettable experience where artistry unfolds before your eyes, I implore you to join the vibrant No Shame Theatre community. Be prepared to be inspired, moved, and entertained as you witness the unearthing of extraordinary talent, one performance at a time.

Holden Benoit, Nick Bentley, and Chelle Leary [performing as Good, Bad, & Ugly] at No Shame Theatre [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/250, ƒ/4, (35mm = 72)]