A Story Behind A Photograph by Nathan Ford

Second in the series of commissions for Develop at Home - a digital programme of articles, interviews and resources to help us stay connected, inspired and informed at this time of isolation - is Develop Ambassador Nathan Ford sharing a story behind his photograph Kieran.

This photograph captures the moment after a long and exhausting performance. This actor is given short breaks in-between shifts; he takes his in the sun. The actor is performing a modern piece named ‘Will & Co’; a story retelling Shakespeare’s life.

“Theatre is extremely hard work. Anyone can be a film actor but theatre takes a lot more experience and training, because you have to know how to project your voice loud enough to be heard and have stage presence. A lot more is expected of you, and its draining. This is especially when you are expected to perform twice or even three times a day.”

Although considered the same occupation; Theatre isn’t as glamourous as performing in film. Because of this, I find this actors journey in theatre particularly interesting;

Being the only member of cast who is of ethnic minority; This actor expresses his hardship in finding work on stage. Theatre is often and has always been marketed towards a certain class of people. It was only until Shakespeare founded ‘The Globe’ that you would begin to see the lower class of citizens indulge in theatre. However a similar type of hierarchy still stands today against our modern ethnic minority society. This actor describes how he feels when he visits distinguished theatres; such as, The Harold Pinter Theatre and The Theatre Royal Haymarket. He explains that the atmosphere as well as other audience members make him feel out of place and uninvited. I would personally like to see these distinguished theatres allow opportunities for young black creatives to tell unconventional stories about black culture.

I have always known that shape has been an important aspect of this photograph. The actors body language is loose and organic. In many ways this echoes the actors process in conditioning his mind and body to move more freely on stage. This plays in contrast and perhaps emphasised by the rigid, hard-lined structures around him. Tough lines boarder; his hand, his torso and the windows on the adjacent building.

Upon further inspection of this photograph; I notice that if you were to squint hard enough, you will notice the sun light which falls over his face creates a graphic similar to that of a skull.

Fitting of a Shakespearean play.

- Nathan Ford