[Over 13 days, from December 20-January 2, we will be publishing the best live performance photos or promo shots of the year. We began choosing them by considering the 50 Pictures of the Week we published in 2013. The most difficult decisions involved cutting that down to ten photos and two runners-up. However when it came to deciding Picture of the Year, which we'll reveal January 2, the decision was obvious almost from the moment we originally published the photo. As we show you each photo in this holiday series, we will also share with you what we wrote about it at the time. Enjoy! and help us spread the word about this magnificent art form: performing arts photography!]
This promo pic for UBC's production of Sharon Pollock's Blood Relations is a beauty for many things you don't notice until you look (and realize that they had burrowed into your subconscious). Master Photog Tim Matheson always gets his subjects to go beyond posing, as he does here with actor Mercedes de la Cerda. Apart from the ax, dress and hair-style, look first at the eyes, then at de la Cerda's hand; she does not just hold the weapon as much as clamp her hand around it (the redness of the fingers, the strain of the tendons in sharp focus). Also look at the blurred hand behind, placed almost as if she is holding herself back from the crime which made the play's Lizzie Borden famous. This photo is a gem.