Shooting Musicians

In the past few months I got involved into taking pictures of musicians. Starting point was that I met a group of street musicians in the streets of Athens. I asked them if they were ok with me taking some pictures of them. They agreed and subsequently I met them again, attended some of their scheduled concerts and took some portraits of some of them.

From there on it snowballed and I got deeper involved in the scene with a few musicians being interested in me taking their pictures. A week ago I could attend a radio contest show with the blues guitarist and singer Tom Yosi and his band. I could take pictures of their preparation for the concert and of the event itself. Here is the link to Tom’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thanasis.klabanos

Taking pictures of musicians is special. It is artistically satisfying. And I will tell you why. Musicians live their passion. They love what they do. They love their music and they love the social interaction that ensues from it. And all this shows in their faces. Musicians are people that are ‘easy’ to shoot because they have a lot of expression on their faces.

 Tom Yosi in concert at red fm in Athens

Tom Yosi in concert at red fm in Athens

I have made the experience that during concerts musicians live their music. They dive into it. And every twist and turn of the music often shows in their faces. So it is an adventure to follow them during a concert and to capture what the music does to them and to their facial expression.

 Ηώ Δάδα singing at Dafni café in Athens

Ηώ Δάδα singing at Dafni café in Athens

Shooting during concerts in cafes and bars (and that is what I do mainly at the moment) is photographically a big challenge. The light is crap (as you see in the picture above), most of the time there is no stage light at all and you can be glad if you find a ceiling light that illuminates the scene in a random way. Not easy to shoot good pictures that way.

With the radio concert it was a little different. This happened on a stage at the broadcast centre where they had professional equipment and also stage light. However the lighting was actually far away from anything you could call professional. This was radio and not a TV show.

Anyway - the experience of getting involved into Athen’s music scene, of having the opportunity of taking pictures of musicians on stage and privately and of encountering their love and passion for their art is providing big joy to me. I hope that this will continue and that I will be able to expand on it. And I also hope that the interruptions by me working (I need to earn money, and I can’t do this with my photography) will not have too bad an influence on this development.

I have been waiting for this kind of photography for years. Now it is happening and I am very happy.



Flickr Kills Art

For the last year and a half I have been one of the curators of ****Contrasted Gallery. ****CG is an online project, founded more than 10 years ago by Manuel Diumenjó. He and his co-curators invite on a monthly basis interesting artists to exhibit a collection of their Flickr pictures at ****CG.

Technically ****CG is a Flickr group where only curators have the right to ‘admit’ pictures. We invite artists, discuss with them their work and ask them to chose up to 50 pictures that they want to exhibit for one month. After the show the pictures remain in the gallery so that interested people always have the opportunity of reviewing artistic work that has been accumulated in over 10 years. So it has become a fascinating place where artistic photography is shown.

And now comes Flickr. And threatens to delete all pictures above 1000 of all its members that have not become Pro. Do you have an idea what that means? According to Manuel’s estimation between 60 and 70% of all pictures that have been accumulated at ****CG over the years will be deleted. Gone! Forever!

So Flickr is not only urging people to decide if they want their own collection of pictures to be deleted if they don’t pay the ransom, they also destroy pro-actively art and the work people have put into this over the last decade. This is a scandal!

Art needs to be protected from barbarians of all kind. Art cannot be “deleted”. The attitude behind this is awful. This is close to fascist behaviour. A company that is deleting art has not understood its responsibility.

Here is the link to ****Contrasted Gallery. If you click the links on the left han side you get to the respective exhibition of an artist. https://www.flickr.com/groups/contrasted_gallery/discuss/

If you think that Flickr’s new policy needs a change, particularly in order to prevent the destruction of art, write them, swamp them with requests! Here is the link to the Flickr help page for this topic: www.flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/72157702923034264/ 

About Re-Interpreting Art in Photography

You have a walk through an art exhibition. Let's say the big documenta14 exhibition in Athens. And graciously they allow you to take pictures. "No flash lights!" Of course.

And you take some pictures of work that you find interesting. You take pictures the way you think it represents this art the best way. You chose the POV (point of view), the angle, the exposure to complement the oeuvre.

 

 The Chess Society by Bili Bidjocka  documenta14, Athens School of Fine Arts

The Chess Society by Bili Bidjocka  documenta14, Athens School of Fine Arts

 

And whilst you are taking these pictures the piece of art is doing something with you. It makes you aware of its presence. It occupies your mind. You start thinking about the meaning of this piece of art. You start asking how the picture that you are taking interacts with this piece of art. You start interpreting this piece of art by taking a picture. You are getting involved into the process of creating a little piece of art yourself. You create art about art. With the help of photography. With the help of your mind and your camera. So it becomes a little piece of your own. Your own creation.

Does it? Is this picture your own? Do you become the creator of art? By just taking a picture of a piece of art? Can you call yourself an artist because you interpret somebody else's art? I am not sure.

I personally feel that I am changing the perception of this particular piece of art by taking a picture my way. I get into a dialogue with this piece of art. I try to find answers to its message. So from that perspective I regard myself as the creator of a new piece of art.

But am I really? I don't know. I will leave this to you to decide. And maybe you comment on it and tell me your opinion.