BIG TOP HOT SHOTS
On 23rd June, the gardens of the beautiful Chiswick House in West London were the setting of choice for the vintage-style Giffords Circus. For one day only, the Big Top played host to an Olympus event, while the Circus performed a selection of acts from their new production, Moon Songs 2015.
On the day, the 60 lucky guests in attendance were those who’d won places through the free draw featured on the Olympus Events’ page. The event gave users the chance to shoot some fantastic photos, get help and advice from experts and try out a selection of the latest Olympus camera bodies and M.Zuiko lenses.
By 12pm many of the attendees had already arrived and were happily shooting the vintage circus props surrounding the Big Top Tent.
The stage now set, and the 1pm start time drawing ever closer, the tent started to fill up.
Olympus’s Claire Voyle welcomed everyone once they has entered. She then handed over to well-known fashion photographer and Olympus visionary, Damian McGillicuddy. They explained that there was a variety of kit on hand to borrow for the day and many lenses to try out.
Once everyone had gathered kit, the ringmaster was just about ready to kick off the show – but not quite ready yet. So to fill in the time, Damian treated the audience to a short set on the drums. (Update: there’s been no call from next year’s Glastonbury organisers as yet, but Damian tells us he remains hopeful.)
Now ready to begin, the ringmaster introduced his acts – only to be repeatedly, and hilariously, interrupted by Tweedy the clown. The crowd particularly enjoyed Tweedy’s ‘pet iron’, which he took for a walk by dragging it along by its cord.
The first full act of the day then rolled out from behind the curtains. Bibi and Bichu, the juggling brothers, performed some amazing tricks – even keeping perfect time as they threw pins to-and-fro from beneath their legs.
After they’d shown off their impressive skills, Tweedy couldn’t help but lend a hand while guests put the Olympus cameras through their paces.
Tweedy introduced Big Dave, ‘because little Dave couldn’t make it’ apparently..
And also stuck around to entertain the crowd, in between riding a unicycle and doing some tricks with his hat.
Next up the Ethiopian troupe undertook breathtaking acrobatic feats. (Guests were reliably informed that the troupe – all 12 of them – were Bibi and Bichu’s long lost cousins from Ethiopia, especially here to perform for the day). Music played from a live band as the acrobats formed great towers and somersaulted wildly, giving attendees the opportunity to shoot beautiful pictures.
Once finished, three Olympus visionaries, Neil Buchan-Grant, Robert Pugh and Damian McGillicuddy each led group sessions for a different types of portrait photography. Everyone had the chance to benefit from their expertise, as after an hour or so the groups revolved.
Damian’s group had the chance to shoot one of the circus performers with her hoops, who sat on the benches inside the Big Top and had lighting set-up on either side of her. Damian was on hand to give advice on his preferred lighting techniques as well as providing answers to technical questions.
Neil’s group used the entrance to the Big Top, and opted to use natural light mixed with a small octagonal softbox flash and an off-camera flashgun. The attendees took it in turns to take the shots guided by Neil. The model? Tweedy the clown, of course. He worked tirelessly to change pose for every shot, striking some very comedic positions in the process.
Robert Pugh and his group had free-range of the outside area, including the circus vehicles, wooden wagons and village fête atmosphere found on the grass outside. Their model was the circus’s Maximiliano Stia – and his enormous stick-on moustache. He posed with cards in a variety of settings, surrounded by a simple but effective lighting set-up.
Once everyone had tried each of the different portrait scenarios, the event came to a close. Attendees gathered in the Big Top and Damian rounded the event off by answering final questions.
Thankfully, no Olympus event would ever be complete without some sweet stuff. Upon exit everybody received an Olympus goodie-bag, packed with a variety of fun trinkets like a mini Olympus OM-D keychain and circus-themed gifts, and guests basked in the sunshine while they enjoyed tea and cake.
Thanks to all the event attendees and the team from Giffords Circus for a superb event! Check out our album from the event over on our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.949016558475293.1073741857.124688874241403&type=3