Music and Photography-by Chip Phillips
I will be playing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra on November 20th and 21st. I have been doing interviews with the local newspapers, and it got me thinking about music and photography. Both art forms demand an almost obsessive attention to detail, all in the name of creating something that seems effortless. No two clarinetists will approach the Mozart Concerto the same, just no two photographers will photograph and process a scene the same way. Unlike music, photography is a pretty solitary pursuit. However, you can compare the different elements of nature to the various different musicians in a symphony. All must work in harmony for beautiful art to be created. Although the end product is much more collaborative in music, the preparation can be just as solitary and introspective. Many hours a day of grueling practice go into preparing a concerto, just like many hours of travel, and rolling out of the sleeping bag at four in the morning are part of creating a landscape photograph. All the freezing cold, lonely mornings spent waiting for that one dazzling show of light can be compared to the many hours in the practice room. No pain, no gain. But that one moment of sublime beauty makes it all worth it. Photography and music are greatly complimentary pursuits. They both are concerned with composition, form, harmony, and dissonance. Photography deals with these aspects in silence, while music does so blindly. The legendary photographer Galen Rowell’s mother, Margaret Rowell, was a famous cellist and cello teacher. Growing up with a professional musician mother undoubtedly influenced Rowell’s artistic development. I consider myself very lucky that I get to make a living creating art in two different mediums that I love so much.