Photography as a Journey

In September 1996 during the launch of the Eighth Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music, Bridget Elliot introduced herself to me, in the middle of the crowd. She said she was making photographs of musicians in Australia and that she would like to photograph me. I have always enjoyed photographic sessions because I find it intriguing ~ like writing a piece of music you only find out the outcome later. So, I said “yes”!

It was a really fun session. Bridget wanted to photograph around the palms in my backyard, because of the light and the nice background. It took about an hour and we had a chat about who else she was photographing at the time and I remember thinking how amazing that was, all that hard work, out of a love for music and for people who make music.

Elena Kats-Chernin, composer

Elena Kats-Chernin, composer

In October 1997 I was in Germany and got a call from the Australian Broadcasting Commission that they were going to put Bridget’s photo on the cover of their magazine 24 Hours. That November 1997 issue coincided with the release of my CD Clocks by ABC Classics.

In 1999, when I needed a photo for a concert program, I asked Bridget if she would make some new photos ~ by that time the first one had been used many times for different concerts.

She came over and decided to do something different ~ we took a walk to Coogee Beach. It was an extremely windy day and we walked quite far to reach a sheltered place among the rocks.

She made both black and white as well as colour photographs. The favourite black-and-white one from that time (which I call “the one in a coat on the beach”) as well as several colour photos got used in all sorts of projects.

In 2001, by which time it had become an annual ritual to make a photo, she made some in my studio, photographing me at work while writing a score ~ sometimes just my hand tapping the rhythm. She did both black and white as well as colour ~ those were really nice pictures.

In 2003 when one of the rooms in my house was stripped of paint and altogether empty, Bridget took some more photos in that room, using the window light. One of these is the black and white photo on this website (Archive).

"The bonus of all this is that we keep in touch independently of taking pictures ~ it’s always great to meet up."

- Elena Kats-Chernin, composer © 2004