Here and then gone. That’s the sound of music — echoing down the street from Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Orchestra Hall, St. Andrew’s and hundreds of other sonic rendezvous — though the stages are dark and the players already relaxing in their rooms. When the music’s over, it’s the sound that fades but won’t go away. And sometimes a shot in the dark captures the true feeling of it all.
In this mediated age — of camcorders, microcassettes, MP3 and DVD — sometimes the truest fidelity, when it comes to getting the feel of a show, a concert or a rehearsal, is a single image captured on the fly, in the heat of the moment. Throughout this sprawl that could just as well be called the Music City as the Motor City, thousands of private eyes are always on the lookout for such timeless slices of light, frozen visions of the sounds we heard. And because now and then a few of those paparazzi develop the knack (of being in the right place at the right time) into an art, the rest of us get to look back at sights we never saw but thought we did, or couldn’t have because of where we were standing or because of when we were born. Sights that retrieve the music.
Detroit Focus 2000, southeast Michigan’s monthlong-plus celebration of photography, brings together the work of 47 music detectives in “Photography & Music,” an extensive show at One Orchestra Place, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s headquarters next to Orchestra Hall on Woodward. With the symphony showing signs of expanding its outreach to the larger music community — scheduling pieces by contemporary composers Michael Daugherty and Giya Kancheli, as well as jazz and world-music concerts — this ground-floor exhibition in its office center is a perfect fit.
Presented in moody black-and-white or reverberating color are scenes of classical music, jazz, rock, blues, ballet, modern dance, Native American ceremony, music on the streets, in the subways, in the clubs — shot by photographers from Detroit, New York, Japan, etc. — most by such hometown seers as Barbara Barefield, Rebecca Cook, Joe Crachiola, Hugh Grannum, Brad Iverson, Clyde Stringer, Jerome Magid, Edward (Robbie) Roberson, Joe Vaughn, Taro Yamasaki and others too numerous to mention.
So to get you up and moving right over to take a look for yourself, Metro Times presents five hot solos from this jam session of images: Charles Auringer’s uncanny shot of the androgyne who fell to earth, David Bowie, in his “Panic in Detroit” days; David Griffith’s “you-are-there” look at Cream’s Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton onstage at the legendary Grande Ballroom, 1967; Michelle Andonian’s penetrating study of classical violinist Ida Kavafian; Bruce Giffin’s Johnny-on-the-spot composition, “Live at Third and MLK”; and, on our cover, S. Kay Young’s swirling close-up of a “grass dancer” from the Oneida tribe.
Curated by Lisa Goedert and Michael Sarnacki, this collection of gazes will have you keeping an ear out for those long-lost echoes.George Tysh is the Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at [email protected]