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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ken Reynolds on Shooting the Satirikon

This is the final entry in a series devoted to the work of British photographer Ken Reynolds.

In a text he calls his “Artistic Statement,” Ken Reynolds describes what in theater moves and attracts him as a photographer. Here is part of what he wrote:

“The artistic goal has always remained the same — to create images that have the possibility to intrigue, question, and stimulate the imagination without the viewer necessarily knowing anything about the production. They are caught in a fraction of a second — one moment will work, the next one may not. The timing is critical in relation to the body and facial movement of the actors in their interaction with each other and their surroundings, and one’s own inner, intuitive response to what is the essential essence and atmosphere. All my life I have been aware of seemingly accidental symmetries, and also how so many things change in relation to each other just by moving one or two steps. In the theater I am still and it is the actors who are ever moving in relation to each other and the set. My eye seems to instantaneously pick up and frame the unintended parallel lines created from moving arms and legs as they move across the set and handle props. This happens almost subconsciously, for the concentration has to be on the eyes and ever-changing facial expressions.”

Or, as Ken said in his talk about Lev Dodin, posted a few weeks ago: “Oh, what one can’t do when one is inspired!”

One of Ken’s most frequent photographic targets has been Konstantin Raikin, the lead actor and artistic director of the Satirikon Theater. Raikin’s bold, energetic theater regularly collaborates with top directors such as Pyotr Fomenko, Valery Fokin, Robert Sturua and the younger, but highly accomplished Yury Butusov from St. Petersburg. The Satirikon is not merely one of the best theaters in Moscow — it is a photographer’s dream, as Ken readily admits. Ken has especially clear memories of an unexpectedly “vivid and vibrant” “King Lear,” an unorthodox “Richard III” with a set created out of cartoon cut-outs, and a surprising rendition of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” in which Raikin, playing the nondescript clerk Gregor Samsa, woke up one morning in bed as an insect.

The video below, recorded next to the huge flower market on Solny Square in Wroclaw, Poland, features Ken talking about shooting productions at Moscow’s Satirikon Theater.