In the fall 0f 2014, the Crisman team headed to Detroit to spend a week working with a group of artists and actors who make up Shakespeare in Detroit. Founded in 2013, Shakespeare in Detroit is a site-specific Shakespeare company that performs throughout the city of Detroit. From the costumes to the actors, the staging and their props – every piece of the SID productions are sourced and based in Detroit. They’re an amazing group of people who are breathing life into the city, and we couldn’t be happier to tell their story.
For this shoot we wanted to bring the characters of Shakespeare to life in real locations that spoke to the city of Detroit. The first and most obvious thought would be do go down the route of ruin and shoot inside the crumbling remains throughout the city – but this is a misstep. The true Detroit, the 2015 Detroit is not a crumbling remain, it is a city in rebirth, a thriving city which plays just as an important role in this project as the characters we’ve staged in front of the lens.
Art, culture, food, it’s all there in Detroit. And it’s growing – faster than you may image. From city institutions like Coney Island hot dogs to brand new craft distilleries and burgeoning restaurants, there couldn’t be a better city to stage this performance in.
Not happy with just shooting stills, our team also captured motion for this project, including this video interview with the founder and director of Shakespeare in Detroit, Sam White. Although our photos may shed some light into the amazing production she founded, Sam shares the story of SID in a way that only she can.
Can’t have a shoot without some light tests and BTS coverage. We kept our kit pretty small and mobile since we were shooting at least 2 locations a day and sometimes more.
One of the most unique and most distinctively Detroit locations was The Heidelberg Project, a large scale outdoor art exhibit that spans an entire city block.
And then I got stuck in a fish tank. Well – not really… we did shoot at the amazing Belle Isle Aquarium, a historic building designed by the legendary architect Albert Kahn.
Aside from being the stage for our scenes photographed from Othello, Slow’s Bar Bq serves some damn tasty BBQ and is a must visit if you’re in the city.
We owe a big thank you to our editors at Southwest magazine for trusting us to bring this wild story to life. We also owe a thank you to Sam White and the entire acting company at Shakespeare in Detroit – we couldn’t have pulled this off this without all your help! Last but not least, we owe a thank you to the city of Detroit – the other character throughout this series of photos – quite possibly the most appropriate backdrop for these images.
And last but not least here’s a photo of Jared asleep while sitting in for a light test. Yup – it was definitely a long week.