What is the static “essence of the moment” preserved in images of performers’ actions and expressions while making music? I am interested in the unique movement and physical expression of musicians on parade or performing on the sidewalk, the moments we often miss because we are focused on the sounds. Photographs of street music are a peculiar medium. The essence of the moment – the sound – is removed. What remains can be a unique sense of movement and color and spontaneity and evanescence that can be recorded only in a visual image. The six photographs exhibited at Berta Walker Gallery in 2014 include images from the annual Portuguese Festival parade in Provincetown, where ethnic tradition flourishes one weekend each year; images from New Orleans, where it is often said that “music saves lives”; and an image from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, a historic community where funeral parades can be so happy that joy is an entirely appropriate emotion.
Music in the Streets of the World
Tibet in 1999 was on the cusp of coming technological and industrial changes. Even then, traditional cultural neighborhoods in the ancient capital city of Lhasa were being demolished and replaced with newer buildings. In 2006, the final link in the railway to Lhasa was inaugurated, and migrations of ethnic Chinese people into Tibet increased. The Tibetan Spirit images were made in 1999; they were part of an exhibition at Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown MA in 2007.
Grace & Light
Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is a towering and inspiring church, filled with sound and light and spirit. My brother Jeffrey Thomas conducts the American Bach Soloists in their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah every December in the Cathedral. In 2013 artist in residence Anne Patterson created “Graced with Light: The Ribbon Project” with 20 miles of ribbons filling the Grace Cathedral with color and ethereal beauty.