Izzy de Shimmy at the 2023 Burlesque Exposition

The Great Burlesque Exposition’s Bordello Show, 2023 (#14)

Vikki Likkerish at the 2023 Burlesque Exposition, Salem, Ma

The Great Burlesque Exposition’s Bordello Show, 2023 (#14)

The Bordello, my favorite Burlesque show, is after hours, dimly and a little bit more risque. With the audience sitting at tables, this is a floor show. From a photographer’s perspective, I love the ‘following white light,’ which makes for significantly better images than performers flooded with pink, blue, or red lights. That said, floor shows are tough to photograph due to a law of science, the inverse square law. I must reduce the amount of light entering the camera, and with every step they take toward me (and the light), the exposure changes; this is a manual process. As soon as the exposure is correct for one shot, the performer takes a couple of steps toward the ‘following light,’ which increases the power of the light.

To account for the changing exposure at the speed of the performance, I set my camera up so I would only have to change the shutter speed; the closer to the light they would move, I would use a faster shutter speed (to let in less light), and I would slow the shutter speed down the further they were away from me. It took a couple of acts to figure out what settings I needed at different spots on the floor, it was pretty challenging, but I got there somewhat!

Please enjoy the show!

If you would like to see more like this, check out the Burlesque photo gallery.