Photographing the Music —

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Some time ago I came to the conclusion that photographing the music has little to do with the notes on paper, the instruments or musicians, or even the actual sound produced during a symphony’s performance. The music refers to something that can only be recorded in the feeling of the moment the feeling of the mind.
A correlation to an understanding of photographing the music can be experienced in many ways. For me a perfect example can be found in the progress of learning to ride and become a true mountain biker. On the trail of progress one spends hours honing the technique and then one day while carving down the trail becomes faced with the inevitable, a tree that for a moment was misjudged – passing through it was not an option. But then on the other side, with no understanding of how the tree didn’t cause a major problem, is the realization that something happened about which there was no conscious control. The realization was that you are not riding a bicycle, you are riding yourself. You realize the tools of the ride are not what are most important, you realize the success is in the feeling experienced and the freedom of being able to let go.
But these thoughts are about photography and how they apply to expressing the intangible of photographing the music. While I probably will never be able to explain the feeling of cutting down a path through the woods at 25mph, unless you have done so, as a photographer I learned that I have the means to share what I see, and more so to share the feeling of the moment. Knowing this, beyond all the technical learning, beyond all the equipment one may have, beyond the quality of the lens and light, is the knowledge that sharing the feeling of the moment means much more than pointing a lens and pushing a button, it means finding the feeling and finding a way to convey that feeling. But like learning to ride “yourself” the journey is fraught with frustration, with wonderful failure and many bumps and bruises along the path. Until one day you just let go and you find yourself on the other side of the tree – you no longer fight and just photograph the music.
There is a 1978 movie entitled “Circle of Iron” and a book entitled “Acres of Diamonds” that point up the fact that what you need is already yours; you already have. In all the pain and frustration of learning the craft I find that from the outset, in pure innocence and without knowing the difference, for 60 plus years I have always just let it happen, because I didn’t know any other way. The years have given me a much greater understanding of technique, but I am not given to changing my “modus.” Always willing to learn, I choose to follow the inner voice that helps me photograph the music.untitled-53