Sage Francis and B Dolan promo shoot: The challenge of shooting in a Yurt

With a fairly busy month of providing photography for acts performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, there is one shoot that I was definitely more excited about than the rest. Sage Francis and B Dolan had agreed to give me a few minutes of there time between their soundcheck and show "Strange Speech, Famous Development" for a few promos. It also turned out to be the most challenging, which didn't make me love it any less.

Lighting set up in the yurt

The venue was 'The Stand in the Square', an intimate Yurt located in Edinburgh's St Andrew's Square.  I was fully aware that time would be an issue, I'm used to that. What I wasn't expecting was the limited space. It had a good capacity of around 150 which made me foolishly assume their would be a good amount space to set up my lighting... there was space, but it was filled with chairs for the audience. Damn those paying customers who keep the arts alive. Damn their need for comfort. My solution was to set up my softbox amongst the chairs and then climb into position, also amongst the chairs.





Me - "Right I'm ready, when are doors opening?"
Sage - "Cool... about four minutes?"

1/200, f8, 24mm, ISO 200

The next two minutes were spent with me tangled in chairs while Sage and B got close and were positioned in a small clearing I'd made. With the venue being inside a grassy park, the floor wasn't what I'd call 'level' which resulted in the lighting stand regularly succumbing gravity... The solution? My left leg, in a steady mid kick position, keeping the stand upright. I wish someone had grabbed a photo of that beautiful sight.

1/200, f8, 24mm, ISO 200

1/200, f8, 24mm, ISO 200

The pair were professionals when it came to posing so with my equipment all ready to go it was a case of snap, pose, snap, pose, repeat. With this, we were quickly done and they were both free to head backstage just as the audience started piling in. I used this time to very quickly set my lights to the side, rearrange the seating I'd disrupted and pack everything away as the yurt filled up.

1/200, f4.5, 110mm, ISO 800

I was invited to stick around after the photo shoot and capture some live shots, or if I preferred, just watch and enjoy the show. Who could say no to that? I chose the former as it's not very often I get to shoot a live performance in a unique space such as this.

The show was thoroughly enjoyable with a great mix of spoken word, anecdotes and a dash of [spoiler alert] surprise hip hop music. My full collection of the live shots can be viewed here if you fancy a nosy.  You do... you curious beast you.


A D Zyne
Photography | Video Production
Edinburgh, Scotland
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