In Defense of CATS the Movie Musical

When I was in college, CATS was all the rage on Broadway, and it was the butt of endless jokes between me and my college buddies.   I hadn’t seen it, but the fact that suburban moms, families and cat people were RAVING about it, made me suspicious and downright contemptuous.  It was such a SPECTACLE and so ubiquitous, disdain seemed like the proper reaction. 

Many years went by and I didn’t think about CATS very much, but if it ever came up in conversation or otherwise intruded on my consciousness, it always induced a bit of an eyeroll.  Back in 2010, I was doing photography work for Theo Ubique, a local theater company that was best known for its intimate productions of big musicals.  They were about to present their production of CATS and hired me to do the press photography, which involved photographing a live preview performance.  I set my expectations low, put my camera on my tripod, and proceeded to watch and listen.

When it was over, I have to admit, I was positively impressed.  The costuming was great, the energy and talent of the cast was palpable, and overall, it just seemed unique, fresh and artistic.  Moreover, once it was removed from the category of being a Broadway, blockbuster, spectacle, and presented in an intimate, storefront theater, by a highly talented cast and crew, I was allowed to appreciate it for its actual content.

Now, at the tail end of 2019, we have CATS the movie musical, which has been almost universally panned by critics and the public.  Immediately, upon hearing how “AWFUL” it was, the college boy inside me got excited, and I couldn’t WAIT to see this train wreck.  I, along with my husband and a couple of friends, went to see it with giddy anticipation on Christmas night.  There were about 30 people in the theater.  Sitting directly behind us was a group of 4, 20-something young women who giggled and tittered with barely suppressed laughter throughout the whole thing.  A couple young men decided that it was an interactive movie and were shouting snarky comments for the rest of us to enjoy.  I sat there fuming at people’s disrespect because what I was seeing wasn’t that bad at all.  At one point, my husband was moved to actually stand up, and tell people to STFU and grow up and let us enjoy the movie.  (thanks Aitor!)  The mood settled down a bit after that.

Here are my thoughts on the movie.  There is some initial discomfort, which may perhaps manifest itself by feeling like laughing by seeing the actors in the CGI cat outfits, looking and behaving like cats, but the sooner you accept this convention, the better.  The rude audience I saw it with was especially moved to laughter by the movement of the cat’s tails and when the cats rubbed their heads in affection as cats do.  Get over it.   If you’ve already decided you want to laugh your way through the movie, you’ll have plenty of opportunities.  If you want to accept it on its own terms, then relax and enjoy. The CATS world is fully realized.  Like the storefront production I saw 10 years ago, the performances were great…the singing, the dancing and the acting were all great.  Since CATS is based on a “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (a collection of poems) by T. S. Elliot, don’t expect much of a plot here.  Enjoy the creativity, the dancing, the energy, the cast and the songs…and yes, enjoy the spectacle. 

By the way, the pic is from the 2010 production of CATS by Theo Ubique.

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Behind the Scenes with G. Thomas Ward and NAPCO

Here’s a quick “behind the scenes” look at a video production project we recently completed for NAPCO.  We’ve worked on a series of still photography and video projects for NAPCO, and you’ll get meet our team, the NAPCO team and see a bit of how we work.  You’ll also see a kitchen transformed from “rough around the edges” to “brand new and beautiful”!  Let us know how we can help you tell YOUR story.

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Photographing David Morris’ Art Glass

Chicago Product Photography

Initial Contact

Glass artist David Morris contacted me regarding photographing his artwork. Up to this point, David had been photographing his work himself with his camera phone. However, he needed high quality professional images to apply to juried exhibitions, and thus get wider exposure to a more upscale clientele. We discussed various styles and techniques and settled on a clean presentation on white.

The Shoot

Since much of the work involves clear glass, the trick is to be able to light it to be able to get a clean white background, without losing the edges of the glass.  It takes careful lighting and technical experience to achieve the desired result.  You want to have a crisp white background with drop shadows to show the 3-dimensional quality of the work, but must be careful that the light is not so bright as to lose the edges of the clear pieces.

The Result

Here’s what David had to say about our experience working together:

As a new artist, it became apparent that it was necessary to market and sell my art glass. Initially, cell phone snapshots were OK, but it quickly become obvious that professional help was required. G. Thomas Ward photographed my art so well that it seemed I transitioned from hobbyist to “artist” with a few clicks of a camera. Lighting, shadows, background and reflections are so important for marketing art. Gary was incredibly easy, flexible and comfortable to work with. Though cell phones are quick and informal, professional guidance and specialized tools make a remarkable difference when presenting art work. I cannot thank Gary enough.

Though I normally photograph people, events, public relations and other types of corporate photography, it was fun and interesting to exercise my photography skills with David’s artwork. And it was great working with David. If you’d like to see more of David’s artwork, you can find him here: Fabulous Intentions Glass

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3 Reasons Why You Need an Updated Professional Headshot

headshots for the professional in chicago

First impressions matter, especially in the online world. Most people won’t admit it, but we are quick to form an opinion about a person based on the picture he or she uses.

Your image is your personal brand. As such, it is important to have the right picture that will make you look like a professional, confident, and credible person. If you already have an awesome headshot on your LinkedIn profile or website, that’s excellent, but make sure that you update it every year or two.

Here are 3 reasons you need an updated professional headshot.

Optimize your online presence

People who are considering doing business with you will do a quick Google search about you. They want to make sure that the person they’ll be dealing with is professional and reliable.

Every time you upload a photo of yourself, it comes up on a Google search. By updating your photo every now and then, you are getting more pictures of yourself out there. This will help you build a professional brand and presence.

Look modern and professional

When you were just starting out, you probably used a photo that was taken by a friend as your profile photo. It may not have been a big deal back then, but now that your business is growing, you want a good quality photo that gives people the message that you’re a professional.

Using an outdated photo has the potential to make people think that you, yourself are outdated or out of touch.   An updated headshot will look more modern and professional and will appeal to most customers.

Provide an accurate portrait of yourself

Experts recommend updating your professional headshot once a year. This is especially true for women, who may change hairstyle and color more frequently. Most people will do a quick search of the person they’re going to do business with. You want to make sure that the photo reflects your current age, looks, and abilities.

If you want people think of you as an expert in your field, do not use a picture of your 22-year old self. If you do, you may lose credibility in their eyes.

For the highest quality headshots, call G. Thomas Ward Photography in Chicago. Besides doing headshots, Gary also does event and other promotional photography and corporate video. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our photography and video services.

About

My years of experience include shooting for a wide variety of clients both corporate and personal, including Cartier, WTTW, The Chicago Reader, Northwestern University, Hartmarx, Music of the Baroque, Red Moon Theater, Theo Ubique, Third Coast Marketing and many, many more.

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Chicago, IL 60626

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