The Lion King Jr Musical, and Thoughts on “Perfection” / by Jeremy Mudd

Last week I shot the dress rehearsal for the Lion King Jr musical for the Springfield Arts Council ( It was held at the John Legend Theater in Springfield, Ohio. The theater is gorgeous – I highly recommend seeing an event there.

This was a departure from my norm, as this time part of the ask was to be there early to catch some behind-the-scenes images of the cast and crew prior to the event. Generally I just show up and shoot the performance, so being back-stage and seeing all that goes into an event of this magnitude was impressive and very rewarding. It really gave me an appreciation for all that the crew does to make the event happen.

Kids are awesome – as an adult I would have been freaking out and nervous before the performance; the kids were just being kids and having a good time.  Actually, truth be told I was nervous not knowing what to expect back-stage and the kids having such a great time put me at ease behind the camera.

Once the performance got underway my second shooter and I got to work; each of us taking a designated side of the stage and moving to the middle as needed to capture the action. Once again, knowing the plot and story ahead of time made it easier to be in the right place at the right time. This was a very active musical, with actors using all of the aisles in the theatre as part of the performance.

After the event, I stuck around to shoot the cast and crew for the obligatory group shot on stage. That was held up a bit as Krissy spent quite a bit of time going over the mistakes that were made and what needed to be fixed for opening night. I was a bit thrown off at this because to me, it was great. Yeah there were a few moments where I could tell some kids didn’t hit their marks and were distracted, but I was really entertained.

I was looking at it through a different set of eyes, and frankly was probably distracted by being behind the camera and trying to figure out timing and placement for shots. I didn’t see all of the mistakes because I wasn’t close-in like the cast and crew were – they had been practicing for 8 weeks and knew every word, note, and step. I didn’t – so I didn’t see the mistakes.

I thought about this more while I processed the images over the weekend. At one point I was griping to myself about how high the ISO was on a lot of the shots due to low lighting and how I didn’t like some elements of some shots; they weren’t “perfect”. But they captured a lot of great emotion and expression, and there were some images that I was laughing at as I recalled the show. None of the kids and parents when looking at the shots would care about “perfection” – no one is going to pixel-peep and zoom in and chastise me about the noise in an image that was shot at 6400 ISO. They care about the shot; how it makes them feel and what emotions and memories it stirs. It’s the same thing that I experienced in the theater; I wasn’t close to it so to me it was great. I need to remember that on a personal level when I get into a funk and judge myself and my images harshly – obviously I’m my own worst critic.

Shout out to @reneehopson for being my second shooter at the event, and as always, putting up with my bouts of “editing grumpiness”. :)

Thanks for reading!