Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Young Musicians

Six days after I posted my last blog entry, everything changed. The access I'd been trying to get for two months came through and I was off and running. I haven't stopped since! My new photo project features hundreds of young musicians who participate in Detroit's Civic Youth Ensembles.

I eat, sleep, dream, think and work on it day and night. In fact I have turned night into day, often staying up playing with my photos until 2 or 3 AM. I've even pulled a few all-nighters, not making it to bed until 5 AM. I am what you could call obsessed. Imagine the joy of blending a love of photography, young people, music and Detroit into one body of work!

I spend nine hours on Saturdays and six hours on Wednesday nights photographing at rehearsals, and have recently begun to record audio interviews as well. Early on, my mentor David Alan Harvey suggested I focus on taking portraits of these young musicians and he was right on target! Yes, I take photos during reheasals, but it's the portrait-taking that feeds my passion. And now that I'm hearing the individual stories of these amazing young people, I'm feeling more engaged than ever. I see the final slideshow as having an audio track combining sounds of the music and conductors during rehearsals and excerpts from these interviews with the individual musicians.

In some ways it is a natural outgrowth of my decision to do a photo project on the people of Detroit, for, although many of these musicians and conductors come from other cities, counties, even different states and countries, they all meet in mid-town Detroit to make music together. And this has been going on for 40 years! What a gift our city gives these young musicians, some of whom I will be saying "I knew them when..." And what a gift they give Detroit with their magnificent concerts and the passion and hope they bring into our city.

I hope to continue working on "Young Musicians" through mid-May when the Civic Youth Ensembles 2010-11 season ends. I feel like the luckiest person alive!