Best Theater Photographer

John Lamb

To most people, Lamb is the genial box-office manager at Saint Louis University's theater in Xavier Hall. But a few years back, his photographs began showing up alongside reviews in publications such as this one — and they are outstanding. Sometimes Lamb's photos are posed — as, for instance, his amusing cast portrait for Act Inc.'s Travels with My Aunt, an adaptation of Graham Greene's novel in which four actors took turns playing the same stuffy bank manager; it's not an easy stylistic manner to describe, but Lamb's photo made the premise crystal clear. More often Lamb's photos are spontaneously composed production stills that capture movement and energy: His work on the St. Louis Actors' Studio production of Tracy Letts' Killer Joe crystallized that raunchy play's sensual stillness; the close-up of Elise LaBarge and Tommy Nolan hovering over a candelabra in the final scene of Insight Theatre's Glass Menagerie encapsulated that play's shattering fragility. A Lamb photo can make you want to see a play, then make you recall a production long after it has closed — when, as Tennessee Williams put it, the plays are memory.

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