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Falstaff Student Matinee | Colorado Opera Photographer

The Student Matinee is one of Opera Colorado’s largest education events every spring. Over 1000 students from all over Colorado come to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to see an full length production, presented on the main stage. In addition, the show is broadcast live to students around the state. All the students learn about opera and about the show they are seeing in their music classes before the come see the show. I love that as a Colorado Opera photographer, I get to be a part of this amazing event.

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The show the students see is the same show that opera patrons see that week and weekend but with some small variations to make it more kid friendly. Sometimes the opera is done in English or with a English narration. Sometimes there are other small changes in the plot or the libretto or the show is shortened. This version of the show is performed by Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence. You’ve probably heard me talk about hem a lot. They are awesome! Last year’s show was Falstaff, a comedic opera by Giuseppe Verdi. This year’s show is the Marriage of Figaro and the Student Matinee will be on May 9th.

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What’s really fun about this day, every year, is that it’s both a performance and an event. I’m tasked with photographing all of it. I get there as the students first arrive and capture them entering the opera house, often for the first time. I get to catch them oooing and awing at the beautiful historic building and the majestic theater. Then I get to capture the show. This is the only time the Artists in Residence perform this version of the show on the main stage. There are no rehearsals on stage so this is the only chance we get to take production photos.

At the intermission, I wander around the Ellie capturing the kids chatting about the show so far. Sometimes, they’ll bring a lunch and eat it in the lobby or just stretch their legs a bit. For this show, they also kept the curtain open for scene changes so the audience got to see how the tech crew changes everything over. Then, after the show ends, some of the schools stay for a Q and A session. Students get to ask the artists and the director anything they want and they get to take a peak at the orchestra pit. It’s always fun to hear their questions.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Wild Heart Dance | Colorado Dance Photography

Colorado dance photography is all about creativity. I like to refer to myself as a translator of art. My job, first and foremost, is to document the movement and emotion of the performers hiring me. that probably doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of room for creativity on my part, but it is so much more than that. Everything can be interpreted in different ways, by different viewers, so my job is to interpret what is in front of me, from my perspective. I then translate that into a new medium – two dimensional, still photography. It’s always exciting to see new works, new ways of moving, new ways of expressing, and to be the one to translate that to others.

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I was so excited when Wild Heart Dance started describing their vision for this session. Jumping, falling, dancing in water, the flatirons in the background, and tall grasses in the foreground. This session had it all! Wild Heart was in the midst of experimenting with tumbling and creating new work around it. They brought their mats and blocks to the session and we found ways to hide them from the camera, in the grasses. Then it was time to get wet! I made sure to bring my rainboots so I could wade in the water with the dancers. They ended up having a water splashing fight, which was so much fun to capture. I also ended up with an X shaped sunburn on my back that stuck around for months. It was totally worth it!

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We did lots of individual portraits in addition to the dancing photos. We took headshots at the beginning of the session, then right after coming out of the water, and again at the end of the session. I love seeing them all lined up together below.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Revolutions | Denver Dance Photography

I have been photographing Park Hill Dance Collective and Academy for a number of years now. When their yearly production, an evening of pieces performed by the Collective dancers and Academy dancers, was approaching they asked if I could photograph is. I love Denver dance photography and I really wanted to see and photograph this show, but I knew I would be out of town on the dates they needed me.

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That’s when Amanda came in! Amanda Tipton and I work together a lot throughout the year. Anytime, one of us cannot photograph a show or event, we call up the other one to help us out. Amanda was able to be my associate photographer for the event. She photographed the show, then sent the photos to me to edit and deliver. This works out really well because my clients don’t have to deal with a new business, new contracts, or new pricing. And their events are still covered even if I’m unavailable. Plus, I only hire associates I trust to photograph at the same level as my own work.

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I really wish I had been in town the see this show myself! Looking through the photos to edit them was so much fun because I was really seeing this work for the first time. It looks like an amazing show! I always love how Park Hill combines their studio and company dancers into one performance.

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I also thought it was really cool that the male dancers wore long, red skirts in one of the pieces. I was talking to another male dancer last year who was upset that there are so few opportunities men have to dance in flowing clothing. He felt that a big part of the movement could be missing with tight-fitting clothes. So, I was so excited to see the whole company, men and women, in flowing skirts during this production!

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Opera Talk | Denver Performing Arts Photography

Every once in a while, I’ll be looking back through some of my Denver performing arts photography from years ago and think, “why have I never blogged this? I should totally blog this!” So sometimes I end up blogging old photos from events that happened years and years ago. It’s kind of fun to have a throwback post every once in a while! This is one of those throwback posts. This was an Opera Colorado event from a few years ago that never ended up on the blog. I was not nearly as consistent or organized about blogging back then so it probably got lost in the shuffle. 

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Opera Talk was a really cool event that was part of the Inside OC program, so I thought I should bring it back and show it off a bit. This was a TED Talk style event held at the Denver Art Museum. People from various aspects of the opera world, from history to costumes to stage combat, spoke about what goes on behind the scenes to make an opera happen. Hint: there’s a lot that goes into every opera! It was a fun, informative, and interactive event. 

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Opera Talk was also a great opportunity for people to catch a special sneak peek of a really exciting opera that the company was putting on later that year, As One. As One is a opera about a trans woman’s journey through transition and self-discovery. It was the first in Opera Colorado’s Scene Change series of important new works in venues throughout the Denver metro area. Two of the Artists in Residence performed an excerpt from the show at the event. 

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? 

I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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The Sisters DeCantate | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

I’ve loved being able to capture Naropa’s student theater productions. Through Colorado performing arts photography, I’ve gotten the chance to see some of these students perform throughout their years in graduate school and it is amazing to watch how they’ve grown. Not just in terms of their skills but in the way they think as well. Their productions and performances are deeper and more impactful each year. At the end of each academic year, those graduating from the school’s theater program perform works that they created for their thesis, in order to fulfill their graduation requirements.

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“Chekhov’s Three Sisters find themselves in a grungy, old jazz bar to sing the smoky, grey incantations of their souls.” This is the line printed in the program for The Sisters DeCantate, presented by Jade Garisch in collaboration with Kristin Stelter, Chie Saito, Madelyn Robinson, and Marko Melnick. Their performance was beautifully done and highly engaging. I was so drawn into it as I was photographing the show. Throughout the performance, the audience got a chance to get to know each of the three sisters, the struggles they shared, and their unique personalities. There was so much raw emotion packed into this hour-long show and I was left feeling as though a weight had been lifted. 

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Cast and Crew

Irina – Jade Garisch

Olga – Madelyn Robinson

Masha – Kristin Stelter

Birdmother – Chie Saito

Guitar / Accordian / Effects / Pedals: Marko Melnick

Composition: Music composition, words, structure, concept and direction by Jade Garisch. Guitar parts/live effects composed by Marko Melnick.

Choreography: Chie Saito in collaboration with Jade Garisch and cast

Stage Manager: Cameron MacAlpine

Assistant Stage Manager: Brandon Thomas

Light Board Operator: Isaac Eide

Sound Board Operator: Jake Cacciatore

Production Coordinator: Malachi Tharp

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets?

 I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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2018 Year in Review

Each year, I recap my work and collect all of my favorite images from my favorite sessions throughout the year. My business, my work, my clients all continue to inspire me and move me forward. For that, I am so grateful!

This year came with some pretty exciting things in my personal life. In March, my family went on a huge trip to Africa to explore Cape Town and go on safari in Botswana and Zambia. It has been my mom’s dream to take us on a safari for years! It was such an incredible trip and I have so, so many photos. I haven’t even edited them all yet! 

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I launched a new dance photography project this year and started photographing for another that has been in the works for a while now. In March, I announced my new project, Dance Warriors! I am so excited about this project and I’m so proud of everyone who has been involved. It’s an artistic response to political and social issues, in collaboration with dancers across the country. 

I also started photographing dancers for the Day in the Body of a Dancer, which I am working on with Presenting Denver. For this project, I will be documenting ten dancers through their, professional and personal lives. The images, along with interviews by Celeste Davis Stragand, will eventually be put together in a book. 

Speaking of Presenting Denver, we had our first Presenting Denver Dance Festival and it was so far beyond my expectations! The rehearsal day happened to be on my birthday, so I got to spend it doing what I love, photographing dance! I can’t wait until the next one, in 2020! 

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At the beginning of 2018, Morgan and I moved into a new apartment, and I know have an office! No more working in the living room and trying to confine all my stuff into 5 square feet! I also have an amazing space for indoor headshots that I’ve used a lot throughout the year. It’s a great option for those looking for a professional office feel in their images or clients who are wanting to stay warm for winter sessions. 

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In 2019, I’ve got some pretty exciting things going on! I’ll be doing my speaking engagements this year! Make sure you’re on my email list if you want to learn How To Love Yourself in Photos! Next year, I’ll be traveling to Chicago, New York State, Washington DC, and hopefully San Francisco and Las Angeles. I’m also going to be starting a new blog series of Denver mac and cheese reviews. So, if you’re as crazy about cheese and pasta as I am, or at least half as crazy, then keep an eye out for those! Wishing you a joyful year ahead!

What was your favorite part of 2018? 

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Interested in working with me? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Opera Artists Portraits | Denver Portrait Photography

I plan out all my blog post at the beginning of each year. I put them all on my calendar and at the start of each month, I sit down and put together the blogs for the next four or five weeks. Today, I looked at my calendar and my heart sank. The first blog post of the month was this one, the Opera Colorado Young Artist Portraits. It’s one of my favorite sessions to do each year and I love revisiting it and looking at the photos again. But this one is different.

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A few weeks ago, I started seeing a lot of photos of one of these Young Artists, Nathan, being posted all over facebook. I soon learned that he had passed away, losing his life to depression. I didn’t know Nathan well but it is always heartbreaking when someone dies, especially someone young. This session, from over a year ago, was the first time I met these seven opera singers. From the beginning, it was clear that they were very close.

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I photographed events he sang at throughout the season and every once in a while, we would chat a bit after the show. There are a couple of things that I remember about my interactions with Nathan. He was always the first to lend a hand anytime I needed to carry or move something. And everything he said felt genuine. Anytime he asked me how I was doing or thanked me for photographing him, I could tell that he genuinely cared. He wasn’t just trying to make conversation. That authenticity and passion came through in his art as well. Nathan’s kindness and talent will be greatly missed in the opera community.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Luncheon Discussion | Denver Event Photography

One of my favorite things about Denver event photography is that I get to learn. I get to be a bystander and ease drop of fascinating lectures, panel discussions, speeches, and presentations. While I work, I get to absorb information on all sorts of topics from urban planning to the future or battery storage. Sometimes, I’m introduced to a whole new industry and sometimes I get to learn more about something I’m already involved with.

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When I started my internship at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2013, I knew nothing about opera. I still thought it was only for old people and I thought it must be so boring. After photographing numerous events surrounding and leading up to the opening nights of each show that season, I learned to love opera. It turned out I was just watching it wrong! I even wrote a whole blog post about how to watch opera so that you’ll enjoy it. What I learned is that the key to loving opera is learning about it. The more I know about the story and the production, before I watched it, the more I enjoyed it.

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It’s the same way with Opera Colorado. They have so many events leading up to each show so that audiences can learn more about the piece before seeing it. When I photograph these events, I get to learn along with the audience and it gets me even more excited to see the shows! I love that this company has so many events around each production. I think it really increases audience engagement and creates a better experience for all audience members.

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This event was a luncheon discussion hosted by the Lamont School of Music at the Newman Center. Cast and crew members from Opera Colorado’s production of La Boheme were there to discuss the production and answer questions. There were even a couple of Lamont opera students there to perform before the talk. I love all the collaboration that went into this event.

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Want engaging event photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Sip and Sing | Denver Performing Arts Photography

I love Denver performing arts photography. It takes me to new places and gives me an insider look into really cool events and experiences. I love going all over the city for my job and discovering new things. When I photographed Opera Colorado‘s Sip and Sing last year, I got to go to the Preservery for the first time. It is such a cool space and it was a great location for this event. They also provided a three course meal that looked so good, each course paired with wine.

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I’m not going to lie. This event was not easy to photograph. With Denver performing arts photography, I never use flash during a live performance. This can often mean I face difficult lighting situations that are completely outside of my control. I have to rely on the light available and outside of the traditional theater, it can be very hit or miss. The lighting at the Preservery is really cool. The space is filled with mismatched fixtures, Edison bulbs, and a wall of painted traffic signs. While the lighting looked really great, there was not a lot of it. It gave a wonderful, soft ambiance to the space but made photography difficult.

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I can deal with low light though, I can thrive in these situations. The one thing I had never encountered before was the wall of signs. I collect signed like this and I think they’re really cool. Their job is to alert drivers of necessary information, day or night, and they do this by reflecting light. They are really good at this. That means that no matter what I did, the signs would hog all the light and reflect it on the backs of the singers’ heads. But through experimenting with my exposure and editing, I made it work and highlighted the singers as best I could.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Those Who Attend Your Funeral | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

I’ve loved being able to capture Naropa’s student theater productions. I’ve gotten the chance to see some of these students perform throughout their years in graduate school and it is amazing to watch how they’ve grown. Not just in terms of their skills but in the way they think as well. Their productions and performances deeper and more impactful each year. At the end of each academic year, those graduating from the school’s theater program perform works that they created for their thesis, in order to fulfill their graduation requirements.

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The program for Those Who Attend Your Funeral is designed like a funeral program. on the back are the lyrics to Amazing Grace, which is sung during the performance. The starts with a funeral for a young woman and follows the lives of her father, sister, and boyfriend as they try to live after her death. The show is dark but full of sweet, beautiful moments.

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Cast and Crew:

Mark Gibson — Young Man

Dennis Kerr — Pastor

Mike Mayes — Dad

Fiona Small — Younger Sister

Ben Harrison — Stranger

Shiloh Shahan — Stranger

Victoria Gonzalez — Young Woman

Stage Manager — Cameron MacAlpine

Lighting Design — Isaac Eide, Cameron MacAlpine, and Malachi Tharp

Light Board Operator — Isaac Eide

Sound Board Operator — Jake Cacciatore

Assistant Stage Manager — Brandon Thomas

MFA Theatre Faculty:

Jeffrey Sichel — Chair

Erika Berland — Faculty

Ethelyn Friend — Faculty

School of the Arts & Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Staff:

Sue Hammond West — Dean

Liz Acosta — Senior School Administrator

Amy C. Buckler Rusterholz — Academic Administrator

Carline Swanson (“Swanee’) — Administrative Coordinator

Charmain Schuh — Gallery and Events Manager

Hayes Moore — Graduate Academic Advisor

Malachi Tharp — Production Coordinator

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.