The Gift of Music

Picture: Scotty Barnhart playing at the 52nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, California

Image: Scotty Barnhart playing at the 52nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, California

For nearly a decade my music tastes had reached a plateau. Years ago I was only listening to the radio; I hadn’t yet gotten an iThingy or loaded my music into iTunes. I don’t know what broke the camel’s back, but at one point I felt my audible ambiance had stagnated. I resolved to actively start seeking out more ‘new-to-me’ music. About that time Pandora surfaced. I started finding new artists, and looking them up on YouTube, listening to playlists and making my own. Recently I discovered NPR’s 24/7 stream of their show, All Songs Considered. It’s a collection of all the songs they’ve featured over the last ten years. When listening in iTunes, it tells me who the artist is, so if something catches my attention, I can track more down elsewhere.

Just when I think my music collection, which has hundreds of CD’s copied into my HD and iTunes had reached a respectable size, I was ‘gifted’ a musical collection by my old college friend who was moving overseas. He wanted me to have access to, and keep a back-up copy of his music on a HD. I said, “Sure!” I really respect his musical tastes, and he had his own show on the college radio station. The one word I used to describe his tastes, which coincides with my own is ‘eclectic.’ I knew I’d be getting some good stuff, seeing his collection was over 200Gb & 35,000 files. I’ve already found some wonderful music, and I can’t wait to discover more.

So what does this have to do with photography? On the surface; not much. On a deeper level, we can sometimes become stuck in a visual rut if the only other visual work we ‘see’ coincides with our own personal photography pursuits. If you’re only paying attention to landscape photos because that’s what you shoot; or birds, portraits, or street photography, watch out for your own form of incoming visual stagnation. My Advice, take the time to actively look at work being produced outside your own personal sphere. There’s a lot of great stuff being produced out there. Use your senses and indulge expanding your palette a bit.

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3 Comments on “The Gift of Music”

  1. Richard Wong Says:

    Totally agreed Gary, and envious of your inheritance. Honestly, I prefer looking at other genres of photography more than nature photography these days for inspiration because most of what I see these days feels soulless to me, like people are trying to be like someone else rather than themselves in that genre.

  2. Mark Says:

    I agree also Gary. I have felt rather stagnant creatively for awhile. This is why I have signed up for a photo session in some abandoned Detroit buildings, something I have never done before. I like some of the work I see from these places, and figured I would give it a shot.

    I also love Pandora, All things, and just exploring iTunes for discovering new music. I also have a college friend who now hosts an internet radio station (Strangeways Radio) and they usually play stuff from bands I have never heard of.

  3. David Leland Hyde Says:

    In my observation, music is more obviously either original or derivative. Also, the general public is much more educated about music, with more sophisticated discernment regarding its quality than with photographs.

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