Walking down Whyte Avenue or glancing at the busy walls of a coffee shop, you’ve probably seen DB Photographic’s images. While the work isn’t obviously theirs, it is obvious.
DB has more than 40 theatre poster designs under its belt and in doing so, Dave DeGagné and Brad Gibbons are helping local theatre companies get noticed.
While portraits and wedding photography take up the bulk of the artists’ time, their mark on the theatre community is hard to ignore. Their perspective on posters calls for emotion and drama, just like the shows they are covering. However, the images are still simple enough to offer information to the viewer. This is the magic that gets butts in seats.
DeGagné sites collaboration with the performance company as a reason for DB’s success.
“Every group is different,” says DeGagné. “When we first meet with a company, we talk about what are the central images or central feeling they are trying to get, then we go from there. It is mostly about what is the information that people need and what are you trying to do within the images.”
DB has worked with Send in the Girls Burlesque, Plain Jane Theatre Company, Theatre Yes, and Theatre Network, to name a few. Most recently, their work for the recent play Anxiety could be seen all over town.
While DeGagné is adept with the camera, it wasn’t his initial direction. In fact, his first foray into setting up images came from the stage.
“Beyond a couple of courses on how to use a camera, everything else came out of my background in directing theatre,” DeGagné says. “It all comes from being able to paint a picture on a stage.”
DeGagné has directed close to 15 plays in his life (most recently The Rambler, Fringe 2013, and Bromance, Fringe 2012). In his head, he visualizes what the picture should be. He knows how to paint it with light.
“Then I just have to get the machine [camera] to do it,” he says. “Once I got that, then we are set.”
While focusing on the fundamentals of poster design, DeGagné realizes that times are different. Social media demands several images for each show.
“It is something new to post, it’s not just the same image over and over again,” he says. “We really try to offer a bunch of different things so people will recognize it as the same but different enough to trigger the eye.”
Spoken like a true director.