As part of my Photographic Essay course at the Arts Council of Princeton, I was tasked with creating a set of photographs with an underlying theme or narrative. I was looking for a topic somewhat esoteric, but my creative mind just wasn’t functioning well during this particular time frame. I narrowed my choices down to something related to the Delaware and Raritan Canal or a singing competition show supported by Reid Sound at Rider University. Even after starting with the latter, I kept an open mind and prepared to take the photographic essay in a different direction to protect against the possibility that I could not spam the entire event from start to finish with enough images to tell some sort of story.
The event moved forward, and I committed myself to the project. “The R Factor” mimicked the popular television show “The X Factor.” More than twenty student performers from the university auditioned for a chance to make the final performance. I started with these auditions, taking photographs to document the progress of some of the performers as well of the event itself.
The photography presented the usual challenges. Stages and auditoriums are dark locations, and a spotlight can easily throw off metering. I pumped up the ISO to compensate for the lighting. In the hallways where performers were waiting and warming up before the final performance, the fluorescent lighting played with the color balance.
There is a good amount of talent on the Rider University campus. The R Factor did a great job of showcasing some of the school’s best performers. Here are a few images from the events; more photographs are available on Flickr, many of which were not included in the essay. A slideshow of the essay follows these photos.