Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Composers in Photos

Have you ever notice that composers look just a bit odd in photos? As if they are not quite part of this universe, but just visiting? Here are some examples:

Debussy certainly looks as if he just teleported in from another place, doesn't he?

This is George Crumb, and doesn't he look as if he is just about to dematerialize back into that piano?

And Stravinsky looks like he is just taking a coffee break from dwelling somewhere else.

Harry Partch looks as if he never left that other dimension.

Bruckner? Well it doesn't look like he visits Earth very often!

And Stockhausen can hardly wait to get back to his part of the sky.

Being here in our reality makes Schoenberg rather troubled.

Even Nico Muhly looks a bit glazed.

Prokofiev just whiles away a few idle minutes before he takes that wormhole back to his dimension.

And Puccini is wondering why he dropped by at all!

Shostakovich finds being here on Earth very anxiety-producing.

Even when he is with his friends Prokofiev and Khachaturian.

Even I look at bit puzzled to be here in this quantum reality.

But if we go back a bit, we find composers were a bit more at home in the late 19th century, as we can see in this photo of Mahler. With the exception of Bruckner, of course...

So why is this? Why do most composers look out of place in photos? I think it is because their home environment is sound, not sight. It's a bit like audio recordings of painters, isn't it?


Matthew Briehl said...

Even though it's not a photo, I've always been amused by a particular portrait of Beethoven where it seems he was too impatient to even bother making eye contact with the painter and instead rolled his eyes the whole time!

Bryan Townsend said...

Heh, heh, heh! There are some wild and wooly Beethoven portraits out there! Everything before the age of photography tends to be rather posed, of course.

Rickard Dahl said...

Somewhat fun post.

Bryan Townsend said...

Only somewhat?

Rickard Dahl said...

Well, I laughed only a bit. But then again I don't typically laugh unless it's something funny in real life (for instance: most comedy films bore me rather than make me laugh). The post has some interesting (albeit odd) observations.

Bryan Townsend said...

It was meant to be a light-hearted post, of course. I was looking at some photos of Shostakovich and it struck me how out-of-place he seemed and I realized that some other composers seem a bit the same.

Shantanu said...

Nice post. Especially because we readers get a good look at the writer of the blog!

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks, Shantanu!