Why we love music Assignment for Australian Geographic – March April 2014 Edition
Late last year I was asked by the editor and chief of Australian Geographic magazine Chrissie Goldrick to come into the office and discuss with writer Peter Meredith and the Geographic team the logistics for a story proposed on music. The idea was to report on how music plays such an important part in our lives. How people from all cultures the world over use music and dance and how playing it or listening influenced our health and well-being. It became a story with limitless visual possibilities.
It was great to be there for the stories planning at the beginning and contribute my visual ideas in the round table discussion. After that first meeting, Peter and I were then left to it, we decided that some parts of the story would be visual only and others Peter would write about although I would not need to photograph.
We would get together every so often to let one another know what were were doing and would decide together which parts of Peters story needed to photographs.
I would photograph subjects in the story at a separate times to when Peter would interview them. Classic example of this was with Professor Sarah Wilson from Melbourne University. Weeks out from my journey to Melbourne and well after Peter had done his interviews I quizzed Krysta, the professors assistant on where I could photograph the research made to produce the results of professor Wilson’s work.
It was here in a sound lab in the Centre for Neural Engineering where we made the photographs of Krysta where research is made that supports the study that music improvers brain function.
I was introduced to Elizabeth Lecoanet the conductor at Sydney Sings the first day of photography for the assignment and after only a short time decided that Sydney Sings Choir was where I needed to create the video content for the digital edition and the web. I would juggle still photographs and video for the two sessions I had there. Each evening I could not help but feel great although exhausted juggling, LED lights, sound equipment, tripods and two hemispheres of the brain needed to tackle the stills and the video.
The last aspect I felt I needed for the story was a big event and a rock like festival or concert, so we organised a pass last minute press pass to the Big Day Out festival.
All of us photographers would get three songs per performer before we were ushered off from the stage area. While all the photographers pointed their lenses at the performers I was mainly concentrating on the crowd and their experience of the music.
It was one of those assignments that gave meaning to why I wanted to be a photographer. A great experience.
Australian Geographic March April 2014 is in the news stands now or the digital edition can be downloaded from the Australian Geo app on your phone or device.