- Rita Baunok
- Pigment print on paper
- 17″ x 20″ (unframed: 8.5″ x 11″)
- 2 of 5
Brahms Symphony No.2 #1
Brahms Symphony No.2
The idea for this work came to me when I was sitting in the second row of the
Venetian Theater at Caramoor in Katonah, New York, in August 2016, during the closing concert of the Summer Music Festival as I was listening to Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. The weather was hot and humid, and every movement of the conductor was reciprocated in the playful dance of the wrinkles on the back of his suit, which was completely soaked. I was not only listening to but also visually enjoying the orchestra’s performance. A few days after the concert the mental image of my experience still haunted me. When I closed my eyes the untaken photographs came to me in big waves. I was determined to recreate the magical scene that I saw at Caramoor. The next couple of weeks I spent searching for a conductor who was willing to perform under studio lights for me. I had almost given up when a friend recommended Joel Freedman, the perfect person for the challenge.
Maestro Joel Freedman, a conductor, cello player and teacher, surprisingly loved my idea. Later I learned that he is a filmmaker whose own highly-developed visual ability was inherited from his father, American painter, Maurice Freedman, and mother, lithograph pioneer, Louise A. Freedman.Joel performed a rehearsal of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 especially for me over and over again under hot studio lights. He was fun to work with, and he even let me spray his tuxedo jacket with water to achieve the same result that I saw at the concert.
As he conducted, I took pictures of his back with my 35mm single reflex digital camera. I thought of each individual image as a visually recorded musical chord. For weeks in my studio, I sequenced and re-sequenced my musical chords into musical phrases on the framing table. The magic did not happen. The pieces of the puzzle did not come together. Something was missing. I tried one more thing. I started combining the images of musical chords into full musical phrases by layering them in Photoshop. A few hours later, I was dancing in my studio.
These photographs have a painterly quality; they are serene and seem accessible, elemental and simple, encouraging the viewer to ease into the images and connect deeply to the patterns contained within them.