Portrait of Composer Adam Swayne

Portrait of Composer Adam Swayne

Pianist and composer Adam Swayne wanted to create a set of shots that not only reflected his three main focuses – playing, composing and conducting, but also that represented his eclectic style and modern approach to his music.
Moving away from the ‘classical’ black and white images of musicians, the idea was to create a set of shots that were colourful, contemporary and challenging.

Adam was great in that he was happy to experiment and was keen to break the conventions of the genre . It would be very easy to take some very straight shots, but I wanted to give the images some dynamism through selected angles and composition in the shots (see there was a reason for that pun).

By far my favourite shot of the day. We had wanted a shot that of Adam throwing sheet music in the air. We tried this shot several times down on Madeira Drive but the wind was playing havoc with the paper tossing. I could see this shot was going to work when I took the frame with Adam as he is above, a great pose with out-stretched fingers but all the paper had gone to the right hand of the frame. I knew that was essentially the shot, but we had to get more paper in it and so I got Adam to throw the paper a few more times, including some just throwing it with his right hand and composite the five or six frames.

 

Portrait of Composer Adam Swayne

Portrait of Composer Adam Swayne

Anyone that knows me, knows that I like to compose a lot of my shots with the subject positioned to the right edge of the frame. Here I knew I wanted to get the arrow to not only point at Adam but also accentuate his positioning. To give it some more oomph I got closer in to the wall and elevated the camera viewpoint to really get it to lead you in the shot.

 

Sometimes you get fortunate with a photograph and elements come together that you didn’t control. Adam here whilst  ‘Air conducting’ stepped slightly forward and therefore beyond the field of flash, giving this very dramatic lighting on his side and on the graffiti background. We had been aware of the graffiti sparkle all along but his hand holding the baton ended up in the perfect position over it to focus attention.