Portraits of a Composer
It’s been a while since I met anyone quite so nervous about having their portrait taken, but not so unusual for someone used to performing – I have learnt and it is a trait of a perfectionist. Composer, Sadie Harrison came to see me about having some commercial portraits on location for her new website. Of course, given the nature of her work, I jumped at the opportunity – always correlating music with photography – in fact I am just writing about that in the book now. Both music and images have the power to transport you back to a time in your life, to rekindle memories so it was a complete pleasure to be commissioned for this. We discussed Sadie’s ideas for locations, mixing her music with somewhere special – so rather than going down the cliche route of a stately home, we decided upon some derelict squash courts in Wiltshire which lend some contrast to the grandeur of Sadie’s music.
Sadie didn’t just bring along the odd violin….we had, a piano, violins and the majestic double bass to accessorise with. So my immediate method of encouraging Sadie to relax was through doing what she loved and I set her to playing the piano in one of the courts whilst we set up. I know if ever I am nervous about doing talks, if I stick to what I know, all is ok and this seemed to work for Sadie .I can’t begin to explain how wonderful that piano sounded, I wish I could translate it onto the stills, but there is nothing better than taking portraits to music. Because I am regularly taking pictures of people, I sometimes become complacent with the enormity of it all for the subject, so it was a good exersise for me to see the sheer terror on Sadie’s face when she first arrived – the most important thing was that she felt at ease with her portrait, otherwise the shoot could never work.
Sadie’s music has been released to critical acclaim and has been selected for several international festival performances throughout the world, more locally Sadie has recently been appointed the Artistic Director of the Semley Music Festival.
A few of the results I have loaded here – the real satisfaction for me was in the form of an email from Sadie yesterday..
Have spent the last couple of hours sifting through the photos and after recovering from the realisation that I am no longer 21(!) I can say that these photos are absolutely fabulous! The colours and the composition are just perfect, exactly the image I’m trying to get across…I knew that you were the right person for the job. I have chosen the ones for the website already and hope to have it up and running within a couple of weeks. Will let you know when it’s live.
Thank you again, these pictures are little works of art!
Thanks to the lovely Emma-Jayne Findley and my own Evie West for your manuscript throwing skills – and to Emma for shooting some behind the scenes stuff too. I need to get my hair done…