The rhythmic dialogue of music

A Monitor photographer transmits the melody of music – visually.

I love photographing music. Obviously, I can't in the literal sense, but I find photographing musicians transformative. I hear the sounds. I look through my viewfinder. I wait for the moment when the rhythms and the melodies engage my senses. I follow the sound with my camera by getting on my knees, lying on the floor, jumping on a chair for an overhead view. When the musicians no longer acknowledge my camera, I point the lens directly at them. They are intent on the sounds being created. I am intent on visually transmitting what I hear.

I had an opportunity to photograph local high school students at Boston's Berklee College of Music, in a program called the City Music All-Star Ensemble. This young man enjoyed the attention. But then the music took over, and he engaged the percussionist in a rhythmic dialogue. He took note of what his fellow musician was doing and led the musical conversation.

At that point, I was kneeling low and photographing the drummer through the percussionist's hands, which were moving fast, conveying the beat. The drummer anxiously waited for his turn to shine. The cymbals and hands framed his face. The staff lines on the blackboard gave the scene a sense of place.

These are students full of attitude, yet discovering their musical gifts.

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