Photo Essay

The Sounds of Silence

The Sakuhachi sensei

Golden, silent moments during a concert when the musician is "not" performing... It could be a pause in the music, when the pianist raises his hand, or the pipa player stares intently into the blank as her fingers leave the plucked strings.

In the case of the lead gamelan player from Bali, Indonesia, photographing the pause is the most logical thing to do, because otherwise all the action is blocked by an ornate wood carving that fronts the instrument.

Silence is also the meditative moment before the music begins and the main image here, of Sakuhachi sensei Hideyuki Ueno, is one of my prsonal favs. Silence looks good too even if, in the case of the trumpeter from Japanese rock band LooVee, it is more of a fanciful pose ala Miles Davies.

And in the final moments, while the final notes are still reverberating thanks to either natural acoustics or modern electronics, the silence show emotions that can range from fun to frenzy to feminine poise.

I had, in my "10 Tips" essay, On Stage Photography written:

9. Shoot performers at rest

It is not necessary to photograph performers only when they are performing. Often, they look good the moment just after they stopped, when you can almost see a sigh of relief that the performance had gone well.

To that, I now add that you might pay special attention to performers whenever they are not performing, before and after the concert, and during those precious silent pauses in between,

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3 responses

  • William Chu

    William Chu said (30 Aug 2009):

    Excellent idea, Richard. The photos are great, too. I especially like 'Fun Finale' and 'Intensity'.

  • Dorothy Menosky

    Dorothy Menosky gave props (31 Aug 2009):

    Marvelous photos. Great story. Good advice. Thanks.

  • Zerina Phillip

    Zerina Phillip gave props (19 Oct 2009):

    YEAH... Excellent.

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