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Photographs and Music

  Music speaks for itself.
Sometimes it can be pointed-up, even illuminated in pictures or words. Sometimes the photograph neither makes nor needs to make a direct connection with the music. Thus an interesting photograph is an interesting photograph in its own right.

Jacqueline du Pré & Daniel Barenboim - © copyright Clive Barda. Reproduced with the kind permission of Mr.Barda.
For example, Clive Barda's shot of Jacqueline du Pré looking up at her husband Daniel Barenboim from her wheelchair on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral succeeds as a moving image without knowledge of the context of her personal tragedy.

On the other hand, for most of us, it is unusual for a piece of music not to have a visual dimension. And that isn't confined to what we see in our mind's eye when listening to music.

As Charlotte Higgins puts it:

"One of the reasons that watching a live performance is a hundred times more thrilling than hearing a recording is the experience of witnessing the physical process of sound being made: the sight of human flesh encountering ivory or gut or metal, sometimes violently"

  Some people dedicate their working lives to capturing that excitement. MusicEd has been talking to and looking at the work of Peter Williams, who photographs musicians.

Pete received his art education and training at the Royal College of Art. Not surprisingly, perhaps, music photographers tend to specialise. Thus Clive Barda's formidable reputation arose from making memorable images of classical composers and musicians. Val Wilmer produces equally memorable images of jazz musicians. The main body of Pete Williams' work has comprised musicians from latin, rock and African jazz backgrounds and those who have crossed over so-called music genre boundaries. He works for small recording labels and music magazines. Currently, he is working with Joanna MacGregor, among others. What drives him?

Introduction Peter Williams The Setting What comes first? Revelations Partnerships What does it take?
Photographs and Music

Photographs on this page (left to right, descending):
Jacqueline du Pré & Daniel Barenboim - © copyright Clive Barda

Photograph of Jacqueline du Pré & Daniel Barenboim, above, is © copyright Clive Barda. All other photographs in this article are © copyright Peter Williams. The images used in this article may not be copied or reproduced without the express permission of the copyright holder.
Introduction Peter Williams The Setting What comes first? Revelations Partnerships What does it take?