Joann Krivin, black and white photograph, late twentieth century, America
In this image by Joann Krivin of Sonny Rollins playing his saxophone, the artist is able to capture the pure emotion of the moment through her use of light and shadow as well as composition to bring out the dimensionality of the musician, both literally and figuratively, as well as give the viewer a strong connection to the piece and the moment it was taken in. The musician appears to materialize through the shadows that envelop the rest of the image, which is an interesting metaphor for the jazz music that he is playing. In jazz music, the harmony is often ambiguous and easy to lose for a listener until the artist chooses to bring out or highlight a certain instrument in one of many ways, such as a solo or change in the pattern or key that is being played. It is in this way that Krivin is able to embody the intrinsic philosophy of jazz, by taking seemingly impromptu photographs of a single moment of time, catching the fleeting nature of improvisation in solid and tangible terms for the viewer to experience years or even decades after the performer was playing. It is in this way that a history of what jazz was, as well as what it will become, is able to be passed down and studied visually rather than through strictly an audio medium. Because of this, we not only can hear the musician play to this day on recordings, but also get a more solid grasp of not only the music he created, but his style and visual feel, which creates a much more humanizing ideal of musicians you may have only heard on recordings prior.
By G. M.-P.