'Portrait Session (Borrowed instruments I cannot play)' 2010

-890 Jpegs, wall mounted digital picture frame. 30 x 38 x 6cm

 

A collection of 890 sequential jpgs from a photoshoot with fashion and portrait photographer Eliot Siegel, commissioned by Plymouth Arts Centre for the solo exhibition ‘Recreate A Nervy Pistol? (An Early Retrospective)'.

 

The work stemmed from my interest in the formulaic visual shorthand for black and white photographic portraits of jobbing solo musicians, how the simple arrangements of person and instrument at close quaters efficiently communicated great skill and intimacy and also presented a versatile image for any sort of editorial reproduction. For the three hour session with Eliot we improvised my physical relationship to these various instruments, as I followed his encouragement and instructions, in response to my request to be shown with this selection of instruments. I had put a call out for instruments I couldn't play (so anything apart from trumpet and recorder) and got this selection of flute, violin, guitar, auto harp and access to a piano as a result.

 

Rather than selecting a favourite, the final work is the entire collection. This is shown in its entirety on a wall-mounted digital picture frame or alternatively I am slowly using each image for publicity purposes of my own, regardless of the project, and only using each image once. For example my 'Late at Tate' poster below, and the poster for The Apocralypse.

 

Above: Installation shot from 'Recreate A Nervy Pistol (An Early Retrospective)', Plymouth Arts Centre, 2011

(Above: One of the uses for the portrait images for promotional purposes, for a Late at Tate evening of interventions I was asked to develop. Despite the photo not showing me playing the instruments, and the title making it clear, some members of the public still understandably assumed I would be giving a musical recital.)

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