Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three views of a piano

I've been at a lodge in Snowbird for the past three days, which gave me the time to look through Sam Abell's beautiful book, The Life of a Photograph. In his book, Abell often presents multiple views and alternative versions of images in order to suggest "the process of seeking a picture—a process with no absolute ending." Inspired by his work, I photographed some elements of the lodge from multiple views. Since the focus here this month is on music, I thought I would share three views of the piano in the lounge.

View 1: As a cleaning lady works on the second floor, the piano sits quietly on the first.

View 2: What she would see if she peered over the railing.

View 3: Still silent, the piano holds a guitarist's playlists.

These three photographs of a quiet piano make me pause to consider the instrument's longevity and its role as a witness to passing time. Quality musical instruments often outlive us. A piano passes from one generation to the next. A violin gains character and tone with age. Brass becomes warmer and more mellow. Even when not in use, a musical instrument gives its environment more character. I have seen beautiful pianos in homes without musicians to play them, possessions to be valued, like bottles of fine wine, for their heritage, their quality, and for their imagined use, for the potential for enjoyment that they represent.

Of course, as a music lover, the silent piano in the photos above gives me a sense of melancholy. But then, melancholy has a beauty of its own.

Do you have musical instruments in your home? What role(s) do they play? How could you represent those roles through photography? Are musical instruments part of your family? Are they a friend to you? Maybe they merit a portrait...