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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.

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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.

Madame de Sade | Denver Theater Photography

I was going through some of my archives the other day and I found these photos from one of the first plays I ever photographed. While I was in college, at RIT, I started finding my niche with performing arts photography. Since my school didn’t have a theater program, I reached out to a nearby university and asked to photograph one of their productions. I had photographed plenty of opera and dance at that point, but this was my first straight play. I’ve since photographed many plays for Naropa University’s MFA Theater Program. This adaption of “Madame de Sade” was performed by the International Theater Program at the University of Rochester.

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Madame de Sade is a 1965 historical fiction play written by Yukio Mishima, set in Paris in the late 1700s. The play has an all female cast. The University of Rochester adapted the play to be set in the time of it’s writing. The costumes and props were all inspired by the 1960s rather than the 1700s. It was wonderful to watch such an interesting adaptation of a modern play. I loved that the Theater Department chose to feature a play with an all female cast as well!

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I found that with photographing straight plays, as opposed to operas and musicals, the emotions are less exaggerated, which meant I had to work a bit harder to capture them well. There were many quiet moments throughout this play that held so much emotion in context and it was a challenge to find ways to capture that tension without having the context of the rest of the scene. This is always a challenge in photographing any performance, but I always love a good challenge!

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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.

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The Trashydy of Medea | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

This was probably my favorite piece from last year’s MFA Thesis show at Naropa University. 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. Chie Saito’s one woman show, The Trashdy of Medea, was only about 15 minutes long and was the “pre-show” to Those Who Attend Your Funeral and The Sister’s DeCantate.

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Despite it’s short run time, it was very impactful. The show starts with three men carrying a heavy trash can onto the stage. Once they leave, the can starts to move. Eventually, Chie emerges and pops up, using the can almost as a dress. For the rest of the show, she interacts with the trash can, using it as a megaphone, kicking it away, kissing it, crawling inside to hide from the world.

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When I posted a photo from the show on Facebook, someone asked if the show was about the wastefulness of fast fashion trends. It is so interesting to hear what people think a piece of art means. Art is always up for interpretation and I feel that most of the time, that interpretation can change from viewer to viewer. Everyone brings their own ideas and perspectives to the table when viewing art and that is what makes art so meaningful and magical. So I want to hear what you think. From seeing the archival photos of the piece, what do you think is the meaning behind The Trashedy of Medea?

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Starring: Chie Saito and Malachi Tharp, Jake Cacciatore, & Lorenzo Gonzalez as ‘hazmat suits.’

Composed by: Lorenzo Gonzalez & Chie Saito from texts by Euripides & Christa Wolf

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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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Ancient Creatures | Boulder Performing Arts Photography

In the Boulder performing arts photography world, you run into a lot of tricky lighting situations. This show, part of Naropa University’s MFA Thesis Festival, had all of them in one. At points during the show, the only light source was a candle or flashlights or a strobe light. There was even a scene lit only by Christmas lights hung inside an umbrella. I loved all of the creative uses of light. The creators of the show did an excellent job using light to convey strong emotions. Plus, I’m always up for a fun lighting challenge!

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This show was centered around the ideas behind the zodiac. The main question posed by the performance is “Where are we going, and what will we be when we get there?” It explored the ways in which people can change through life experiences and the role that greater forces may factor into their lives. It was a stunning, moving, and surprisingly fun play!

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Director’s Note: “When I started working with the source material of the zodiac, I was more than a skeptic. The frame was perfect, but the source material lacked a certain scientific approach with which I felt comfortable. After my work with texts of Greek mythology, star charts, dice, anatomy, and my fellow creators, I am proud to say that we have built something out of this uncertainty, belief, and curiosity. This piece is the product of work, hope, and chance. The text and movement were created using chance systems, much like the creation of the universe.”

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Cast and Crew

Directed by: Michael Sater

Devised, written, and performed by: Michael Sater Rebecca Buckley Ashley Rice

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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.