Secret Burlesque Society

Sometime last week I was told to meet with a secret troupe of ladies in Downtown Edmonton to photograph them for a story about their something something secret something something burlesque. My first thought was “wait.. what?” But regardless, I went ahead to downtown to find some pretty ladies in cute outfits taking selfies, and that’s how I knew already that this was going to be a pretty fun photoshoot. As fun as the idea was, there were challenges, like the fact that we were in our cities Downtown Churchill Square and I didn’t feel like attracting a lot of attention, but luckily, the square was pretty empty. The other challenge was that it was 6pm and I had a deadline of processing and uploading the photos by 7pm, oh joy.


It usually takes me an hour at the very bare minimum least to shoot something like this in the first place, so asking for me to shoot,  get back to my computer to process, upload, within the hour, is stretching it a bit. So without even trying to hide the fact, I totally missed the deadline by half an hour, but hey, that’s still not bad in my books. The main problem was that I couldn’t stop photographing these ladies! They were just so much fun to photographic and very photogenic, so I mean… I had to take advantage of this photographic situation, right? Now, in my head, I know what Burlesque is, but I’ve never actually been to a a burlesque show or done much of any reading on it, so my idea of burlesque is whatever 5 minute tidbit that Hollywood decides to feed to me. Therefore, I had to shyly ask the ladies what…burlesque… was… just so I didn’t screw up, you know? As it turns out, the group does pop-up style burlesque in public spaces, like Edmonton’s Churchill Square, and other popular public spaces, and I think that’s pretty cool. I mean, if I saw a random burlesque act in the middle of a public square, I think that’d give me an interesting account for the day, don’t you think?


Because of the time crunch, as much as I would’ve liked to set up multiple lights and frame my shots a bit better to avoid clutter in the background, I simply couldn’t, so I ended up just sticking up one PCB Einstein with the 64″ PLM Umbrella and weighing it down. I love that PLM, it’s a very versatile light for most situations and it worked out pretty well here yet again. Though truth be told, if I did have more time, I would’ve loved to add maybe a double kicker to add highlights to both sides, and a fill light… but aside from that taking a while, it would also most definitely attract attention, and since I didn’t really want a giant crowd in the shot, that would’ve been bad. Another annoying issue that was plaguing me was that my camera, despite being one of Canon’s best focusing systems, was having some major problems getting spot on focus when shooting full bodied portraits, and it’s actually starting to bug the hell out of me now…


Overall the shoot, though quick, was a lot of fun. My only regret is honestly not having more time to make these photos look even better. Due to the short notice for both me and for the secret burlesque society, I only got to photograph 3 of the 5 ladies involved in putting on these public performances, and would absolutely love to work with all 5 of them. Given the opportunity, I think that these photos could’ve gone from good to freaking awesome, and definitely hope to work with them again.


Shhh.. it’s a secret 😉



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