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The Unseen – Bridal Shackles

Bridal Shackles
Shot on Ilford FP4+, Pentax 67ii
Troy Liptak-Grilli
Bridal Shackles
Shot on Ilford FP4+, Pentax 67ii
Troy Liptak-Grilli
Written by: Troy Liptak-Grilli

The photo above is the first in a series of photographs that I’ve set out to shoot whilst on the road and on showsite. I feel as though our roles are ones that are not documented enough, especially through the lens of art. Our work is what is beheld, but our jobs are not. Very few know what exactly it is that we do and cannot appreciate it due to their lack of comprehension.

It was January of this year that I found myself living in the catwalks of the Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada. I found the catwalks there to be especially interesting because they were above the ceiling, completely invisible to those below. I sat there on comm waiting for cues or something to go wrong, looking around this place that most attendees of the event haven’t the slightest clue exists, much less is responsible for their show. Everything was up in the catwalks on this one: Distros, media servers, myself, LED processors, and shackles. These things are all necessary to the production.

This bridal is what caught my attention the most. Such a simple device. Steel. Molded into different shapes. Two points that come together to make one point where we needed it for this particular show. Without that, we couldn’t have hooked our motor to anything, we couldn’t have hooked the truss to the motor, the LED to the truss. There would be no show. And yet, as this steel hangs silently above the ceiling, not a single person who is enjoying the show knows it exists. Nor do they care, for that matter! As I sat in the catwalks, I couldn’t help but think that we weren’t so different, the shackles and I. Both unseen, both with important tasks, both who’s job has little to no appreciation from the people we ultimately are working for: The attendees, the viewers, the audience members, the clients. I don’t know about you, but I have never once thanked a shackle, but in that moment, I was thankful.

As my goal in this photo series was to document our jobs, our lives, and living on the road, I felt as though I couldn’t do so without appreciating the things that not even we appreciate first. For as little art and documentation there is of us, I reckon there’s even less for shackles. But this hunk steel that’s probably still floating above the ceiling in the Aria has been immortalized on film. It’s the least I could do.


Troy Liptak-Grilli is a video engineer and media server specialist who has a passion for the art of film photography. He is a new husband and father to his dog, Jedi. Troy is based in Orlando, Florida; however he is more likely found on the road.

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