Where it all started…burlesque beginnings

Photography by Angela McConnell

It’s #tbt again!

By this time (and in truth it was only 12 months) I had upgraded to a Canon 40D and received what was affectionately known as my “engagement lens” – the mighty 70-200 f2.8L

I used to call it my engagement lens since Geoff and I had been together for about 6 years and had no intention at that stage of actually getting married, that and because the lens in Australia is worth as much as a decent engagement ring 😛

During my time of shooting festivals I met a few people who went on give a some lessons in the technicalities of shooting. Up to this stage I had only taken a short course with the Melbourne Camera Club on how to use my trusty 400D. During one of theses lessons I met another photography enthusiast who had repeatedly asked me to go to a Burlesque evening which his friends ran. I had never heard of Burlesque at this point, and because the shows were on a Sunday night and in a rainy Melbourne winter I wasn’t that keen on going. In the end I felt terrible about saying no a third time so I actually went.
The show was a weekly show called Cristal Burlesque and was run by Rosy Rabbit (who is now the co-founder and director of the Australian Burlesque Festival)

It only took my first show and I was absolutely hooked, I went back every single weekend for 6 weeks until the show closed. It’s pretty funny now because when I first started going, I was so shy I couldn’t talk to Rosy at all. After a couple of years knowing these girls you could hardly get me to shut up.

It’s interesting to see my progression through my first year of shooting burlesque, initially I shot quite abstract capturing parts of the body rather than the face but now I like to capture the context of expression within an act, the line of the body or the interaction of the costume with the body. I still am driven to capture the line and form of the body and it is what attracts me to burlesque as performance art.

Cristal was pretty cool because it was a very intimate stage, the performers were on a dancefloor right in front of the patrons and had a manually operated follow spot. It gave really interesting, high contrast light and deep shadows.

 Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Lydia DeCarlo

My first show – Lydia DeCarllo (Vancouver, Canada) 

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Sarah Lea Cheesecake

Sarah Lea Cheesecake

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Miss P

Subsequent shows at Cristal – Miss P

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne
Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Kelly Ann Doll

First shots of Kelly Ann Doll

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Frankie Valentine

Frankie Valentine

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Kelly Ann Doll

Kelly Ann Doll

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Sheena Misdemeanour

Sheena Miss Demeanour

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | L'amour the lady provocative

L’amour the Lady Provocative

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Skopalova

Skopalova

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Kelly Ann Doll

Cristal finale – Kelly Ann Doll

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Cristal Melbourne | Rosy Rabbit

Rosy Rabbit

 

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Rosy Rabbit

Rosy Rabbit

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | L'amour the lady provocative

My first show at Burlesque Bar – L’amour the Lady Provocative

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Rosy Rabbit

Rosy Rabbit

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Simoncee Page Jones | grindhouse

Feature show Grindhouse – Simoncee Page Jones

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Grindhouse | Kelly Ann Doll

Kelly Ann Doll

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Grindhouse
Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Grindhouse | Kelly Ann Doll
Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Vesper White

First Gorelesque show – Vesper White

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Gorelesque | Miss Nic

Miss Nic

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Gorelesque | Vesper White

Vesper White

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Red Door Burlesque | Fez Faanana

First Red Door Burlesque show – Fez Faanana

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Red Door Burlesque
Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | Red Door Burlesque | Mark Winmill

Mark Captn Kidd Winmill

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | La Lucha Glamourosa

First LaLucha Glamurosa

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | La Lucha Glamourosa

Dolores Daquiri and Lil’ Thelma Thunderbird

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | La Lucha Glamourosa

Vesper White

Toronto Burlesque Photographer | Burlesque Photography | La Lucha Glamourosa | Miss Nic

Vesper White and Miss Nic

The first year there really was a very wide range of shows I covered. It was a huge learning curve in terms of managing lighting (or lack thereof) and becoming more confident in interacting with performers and showgoers. I am super lucky that some of the girls I met in my first year of burlesque became really close friends who I miss dearly, and that I have been able to continue shooting something I love so much to this day 🙂

 

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