By nature, theatre is ephemeral. But with production photography, a show can last long after it has closed and reach audiences far beyond the auditorium. Capturing a show’s worth of moments in a just a few images, theatre photography not only immortalizes the artistry behind a show but also helps to solidify the identity of an entire production for years to come. Playbill caught up with London-based theatre photographer Danny Kaan about breaking into the theatre photography industry, his favorite memories behind his shots, and more.
“Two and a half years ago I moved from the Netherlands to London and was so nervous to start my new adventure across the pond. From the day I moved I reached out to so many people and tried to be at as many events as possible—I was so happy when I booked one photo shoot per week.” Kaan reflects.
In the time since, Kaan has become an in-demand theatre photographer, a role he doesn’t take for granted. “I genuinely don't see my job as work. I love it so much! It combines my passion for photography with my love for musical theatre and music. You can't make me happier than when I’m running from photo shoot to photo shoot, capturing the different atmospheres at each event. When I'm at a concert, a show, or event, I'm absolutely living my best life, and I see other people doing that too. I try to capture that moment, whether it's the performer or an audience member. I love the emotion in a photograph, and I love playing around with colors and the lights.
“This year has been a whirlwind: It started off with some amazing opportunities, and I was able to check many things off my bucket list. Then the COVID-19 lockdown happened. My camera and I had a break, but as soon as events were happening again, I tried to be there, from drive-ins, to live stream concerts, to shows with socially distanced audiences. It has been weird but also so beautiful to be able to capture these events. Shows without an audience aren't the same, and shows with an audience aren't the same either anymore. Even still, audiences are thankful to be in a theatre, performers are enjoying their times on stage, and there’s a real sense of community and togetherness.”