Dave MacAaron (aka Davy Mack) works as a doorman for the Broadhurst Theater, but he is also a talented photographer. His access to Broadway shows have allowed him to capture some fantastic moments backstage and the photos he takes are vibrant and expressive. No matter how serious or lighthearted the subject, Davy’s photographs seem to taunt you with the live story that is happening behind the scenes.
Your backstage photos from Anastasia, Tuck Everlasting, Lucky Guy and other shows are amazing. Where does your interest in photography come from?
Thanks! I attended film school at NYU, and I started off doing short films and music videos. I then did music for a while, singing in a band in NYC, eventually recording and releasing an album. I wound up getting back into video and stills because there was a need for it in the circle of musicians I was in, and I knew how to do all that. I eventually wound up doing more still photography because it was a way to capture and share images much more immediately and it soon became a passion of mine.
How did you land a job as a backstage doorman for the Broadhurst Theatre?
My father was an actor and had appeared on Broadway. Later on, as he aged and his health diminished, he became a Broadway doorman and I just fell into it. The job was/is flexible and left me time to audition and do other things as well.
Were you interested in theater before you started working on Broadway?
I come from a family of actors and artists, and I acted for some time myself. Growing up in Manhattan, and with parents who were both involved with the arts, Broadway was a big part of our lives.
Do you think that working in close proximity with so many stage artists has influenced your own art?
Absolutely! It’s inspiring to be around so many talented performers each day. I love that we are able to be creative together and come up with fun shots that really showcase who they are as well as their talents.
What do you think makes a good picture?
With my street and outdoor photography, I try to capture a scene that makes you feel like you are there or WANT to be there. With people, I try to capture something that you may not see on the surface. I want their inner being to show through in the photo.
What are some of your favorite shows and/or people that you have photographed?
I’ve been fortunate to work on some wonderful shows over the years, but I only started taking backstage photos recently — it began with Lucky Guy. Courtney Vance, a brilliant actor who was nominated for a Tony award for it, had been documenting the show with his backstage photos. On the night of the Tony awards, he was at Radio City Music Hall along with Tom Hanks and I was with everyone else from the show at a private party at Sardi’s. I offered to take photos until Courtney showed up and when he did, he just said, “Nah, you keep going!” I shot the rest of the party and wound up doing a little behind the scenes short film backstage on Lucky Guy’s final day. There was a great response so I wound up shooting Mamma Mia, Misery, Tuck Everlasting, The Front Page, and now Anastasia. I’ve also shot some at Dear Evan Hansen, Phantom, Hello, Dolly! and Come From Away. It’s impossible to pick a favorite. However, I was fortunate to have the wonderful Christopher McDonald here for two different shows and he always wrangled the actors together during The Front Page so we could try some very fun shots. I feel that the longer I know someone, the better the pictures I get are.
Do you prefer candid or posed photos?
For backstage photos they are usually posed, but I like them to appear candid. Street photos are nearly always candid.
What is your process when you start a new project?
Since we have so little time here and there to shoot backstage, there is usually no process! We grab photos when we can. I often have only a few seconds to grab the shot before they rush onstage. When I work with a paying client, we talk about their vision for the project.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Always from the actors, stagehands, and everyone who works on the shows. Their energy and creativity inspire me.
When I shoot outside I tend to just roam around and see what shapes and colors catch my eye.
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
Get out there and shoot constantly. You will learn more every time. Then look at your photos, and you will discover your niche and passion over time. While it is good to be versatile at many types of styles and shooting situations, it’s also good to focus on a couple and try to improve.
Do you have any long term goals for your photography and do want to continue working on Broadway?
I’ve had a couple of gallery shows in NYC of my street photography, but I plan to have a show of backstage Broadway photos next. Eventually, it would be great to have a coffee table book too.
Favorite thing about NYC?
The Pizza! by far!