The Night I (may have) Photographed Bono

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The night I (may have) Photographed Bono


The National Tour of the Broadway Musical, MEMPHIS, on which I am the head electrician, officially opened it's two-week long run in Boston, MA last night. After two LONG days of load-in (set up) and a single preview performance on Tuesday night, we finally opened officially on Tuesday night and my colleagues and I were ready to settle into the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre for another 14 performances over the next 15 days before a bit of a break for the holidays. As customary in many of the larger cities that our production tours to, the local presenters, in this case Broadway in Boston, throw us an opening party for the touring company of actors, musicians, stagehands, and management, as well as their own invited guests. After the show, my amazing wife, Crystal, and I were walking to a high-end local seafood restaurant here in the Theatre District (that actually requested to remain nameless) for a few snacks, a drink or two, and some well-deserved celebration for a successful opening. As we approached the restaurant, I noticed a small crowd of MEMPHIS-folk in front of the door, and walked up to see why they were all outside. After a minute of realization, I grabbed the door and held it open as the group entered the restaurant. As the last cast member passed through, I asked if I really just held the door open for "Bono". His response... yes, yes you did.

Realizing the opportunity I was about to be handed for my Project365, I immediately set into action. I rounded the corner, into a dining room that was thankfully almost empty, and scouted a backdrop while throwing a flash (Nikon SB900) into the LumaQuest softbox LTP that is always in the laptop sleeve of my camera bag. I kept a second SB900 in my hand ready to throw it in the hot-shoe and snap a few group photos if I needed to. After the group shot, I managed to get completely sucked into the moment, and saw my chance... I reached out and extended my hand, said, "Hi. My Name is Dan Swalec, I am the head electrician on the MEMPHIS tour with these guys, and am also a photographer. I started a photo-a-day project this year, and was wondering if you had two minutes to be a part of it." His response, two minutes, yeah, I can do two minutes. So I led him around the corner next to the cool wall I wanted to use, and when he went to sit down I said something along the lines of "Do you mind standing?" He jumped up onto the banquette in total rock-star fashion, crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. My amazing wife graciously held the softbox, and after 1 quick test shot, I snapped away. A total of 6 photos later, and merely 1 minute 45 seconds after the first test shot was taken, I extended my hand again, thanked him, and before I could talk to any of the people accompanying him, he was out the door and out of sight, and I was being swept down the stairs by the MEMPHIS local press team.

So far in this project, I have been diligent enough to get a signed photo-release from everyone photographed for the project. This time was so rushed that I didn't have time to find the entourage with him, let alone ask them about the ability of getting a release, even for specific use in my project. Instead, I was greeted by the MEMPHIS local press agent, who whisked me down the stairs asking for copies of the photographs for the Boston Globe tomorrow, and other cast members wanting photos with "Bono" as well. Unfortunately, he had left before Bryan and Felicia, our two lead performers were able to meet him. After running back up the stairs to make sure he and his (surprisingly small) entourage had actually left, I caught word that there may be a "Bono" impersonator running around Boston this week, pretending to be the rock star himself. Sticking to my guns to not use any photographs taken without a release in my project, I decided to not use the photos, and without actually knowing that it was in fact him. I did however decided to post them to twitter, conveniently tagging U2's official twitter page in hopes they might see my tweet among the other few dozen million ones there, but again not so hopeful for a reply. I also decided to post this blog about my experience, in hopes that maybe someone out there might help to solve the mystery. Realistically, I don't think I will ever find out for sure, and honestly, it's almost a better story this way... unless it really WAS "Bono", in which case photographing one of the worlds greatest rock stars would definitely trump the story of possibly doing so.

---D 

 
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The Night I (may have) Photographed Bono

Images of a Bono impersonator photographed off-the-cuff on a banquette in Legal Seafood - Boston.
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The Night I (may have) Photographed Bono

Images of a Bono impersonator photographed off-the-cuff on a banquette in Legal Seafood - Boston.
image
 

The Night I (may have) Photographed Bono

Images of a Bono impersonator photographed off-the-cuff on a banquette in Legal Seafood - Boston.
 
image
 

The Night I (may have) Photographed Bono

Images of a Bono impersonator photographed off-the-cuff on a banquette in Legal Seafood - Boston.

 

 

 

---Daniel A Swalec is a freelance photographer and touring stagehand currently on tour with the Broadway Musical, MEMPHIS. For more info please visit www.dswalecphoto.com. For information about the Broadway Musical, MEMPHIS, please visit www.memphisthemusical.com. It was determined quickly the next day that this was in fact a Bono impersonator who was spending the night on the town, playing his part throughout downtown Boston that evening. I have left it as a part of my website since it's a fun story and the images are ones I am proud of. If you have any more information about the Bono impersonator, or want to somehow arrange for a photo session with the real Bono, please contact Dan directly at .

 

Photographic Skills and Services

Production Photography

I have had the distinct privilege of photographing excellent touring Broadway productions with cast and creative teams that are some of the biggest talents in the industry. My experience in this industry and understanding of the production process allows me to capture images in a way that produces the best results possible.

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Character Portraiture

Sometimes production imagery is in need of some extra background, and sometimes it becomes necessary to capture an image devoid one entirely. I have had the pleasure of working with some incredibly talented people over the last decade, and was able to spend time capturing images of many of them fully immersed in characters both for promotional purposes and for the individual performer's posterity.

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Location Portraiture

I have a love for theatrical imagery and photography that captures a well-crafted truth, and images that evoke the contrast and dynamics of a black and white image in vibrant color. With a background in professional, world-class production, I thrive in managing and producing a large shoot with the highest of production standards to create images that astound.

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Dance Photography

Lighting Design, both collegiate and professional, was the focus of my time in East Lansing, Michigan while studying at the Michigan State University Department of Theatre. I consider myself fortunate to have this theatrical education to draw photographic inspiration from. Lighting performers on a stage has influenced how my photography looks and feels, and continues to be a driving force in creation.

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Concert Photography

My knowledge of lighting and understranding of the Lighting Director's mentality continuously helps me to ask the correct questions and capture the perfect moments throughout a performance. Having the ability to completely understand the lighting at an event makes images captured in a concert environment that much more compelling.

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Music Portraiture

I find it most rewarding to collaborate with other artists on an image. I have been extremely fortunate to work with such incredible musicians who have relied on me to capture their image on many occasions, and look forward to continued collaboration with artists on how best to showcase their artistry in an entirely new light.

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