One of the things I like about my life and work is the constant variation in what I get to capture. I shoot weddings, portraits, commercial, documentary, and more. One thing I really enjoy is when I have the opportunity to work with other artists, like the musicians of the Phoenix Symphony. From the musicians and conductors, to the marketing staff and the CEO, everyone is extremely talented.
A few times a year, the symphony presents multimedia performances that include both music and video at the same time. This multimedia performance was a celebration of the work of legendary composer Elmer Bernstein. His iconic music was paired with clips from the movies his scores brought to life. It was conducted by his son, Peter Bernstein, who shared stories about his father and the music during the performance.
I like to photograph the score because I like to take visual notes. This practice helps me to remember things, like names, details, and more. And I love the way music looks on a page, the way the notes are like their own language. Even though I have played music my whole life, I can’t actually read sheet music.
Jim Ward is one of my favorite people. This intelligent business genius has been the captain of ships such as Lucas Arts now leads the Phoenix Symphony. His guiding hand has made it one of the few symphonies in the US that are financially sound. This gives great artists a stable benefactor. Who says art and commerce can’t coexist?
Phoenix Symphony orchestra master violinist Steven Moeckel getting in the zone before the performance. Steven is truly a treasure. Listening to him play is truly mesmerizing.
Peter Bernstein, son of Elmer Bernstein, conducted the symphony as they played his father’s exemplary film scores. To accompany the music, video clips from the films and clips of his father played overhead. Between the music, Peter also told stories about his father. One of the stories he shared was about his father’s experience in Hollywood during the McCarthy hearings and the Communist black lists that threatened actors, directors and musicians during that time.
It was filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille who vouched for Elmer Bernstein to keep him off the Hollywood blacklist. He was the one who gave Bernstein his break in the movies, which began his amazing career as a legend in film scoring.
Director John Landis (of Animal House, Three Amigos, and other ridiculous comedies) was there to discuss his experiences with Elmer as well.
My backstage lighting was critical to the success of these photos. With the Profoto lighting system, I am able to photograph in completely dark situations with complete confidence. With the A1 On Camera Flash (with a focus assist), and the B1 and B2 off camera flashes hanging from various walls and rafters, there is no image I can’t capture. I know where the action is going to happen and set up my lights prior to the event. Because I can control everything from the A1 On Camera Flash, no matter what direction I am facing, I can create light that will make the image work, even in the darkest conditions. Of course, when the symphony starts playing, the lights go off and I slip into stealth mode.
When all is said and done, photography is my opportunity and excuse to go into everyone else’s world. Whether it is photographing a wedding or a symphony, I love my work. And I love working with talented people who are at the very top of their game.