Category Archives: Photographs: Music & Musicians

Cello Detail

Cello Detail
Cello Detail

Cello Detail. San Jose, California. June 6, 2014. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Close up photograph of a cello — strings, fingerboard, bow

This is a photograph from my three-year project photographing the members of two professional classical music groups. Most of the photographs were made during the fall academic terms while I was on a sabbatical, though much of the post-processing, editing, and organizational work continued beyond those periods. In fact, some of the photography continued in the same way, and I continued to photograph both groups outside of the specific time frame of the project. This is one of the photographs from that outside work, as it was made in June 2014.

As I photographed these groups I found more and more things to “see” photographically and more and more ways to photograph them. Part of the reason for this, no doubt, is that I had never before had the opportunity to focus on a single project for so long where the main subjects are people! Frankly, at the beginning of the project I had a lot to learn about that — and one of the best outcomes for me has been learning how to create photographs of human subjects, from the technical, aesthetic, and human perspectives. But I also have become much more aware of the visual possibilities of things I might not have considered photographing before. This detail shot of a cello might not be the ideal example, as the forms of string instruments have long interested photographers. However, I recall first “getting” the qualities of the large string instruments when I made a photograph of the entire lower string section early on in the project. I saw the obvious after making that shot, that these very large instruments, with their attractive shapes and rich wood textures and evidence of use and wear are visually interesting objects and evidence of the relationship between the player and his or her instrument.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

The Choral Project (and more…)

The Choral Project
The Choral Project

The Choral Project. Santa Clara, California. December 17, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Members of the Choral Project raise their hands as they rehearse for a joint holiday concert with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra


I have more than one reason for sharing this photograph. First of all, I like the photo! I think it captures the focus, intensity, and joy of the chorus members as they raise their hands and sing this gospel number at a rehearsal for this week’s holiday concert.

And the second reason? To let my San Francisco Bay Area friends know about this wonderful joint holiday concert by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and The Choral Project, an annual tradition that brings together both groups, wonderful soloists, and a diverse range of music, old and new and from all over the planet. Here is more information about the concert:

Winter’s Gifts: Evocations

Saturday, December 20 – 8:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church
1140 Cowper St.
Palo Alto

Sunday, December 21 – 7:00 PM
Mission Santa Clara de Asis
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Classical Musicians — Four Photographs

This post includes a set of four black and white photographs from my ongoing project photographing classical musicians.

Backstage Before the Concert
Backstage Before the Concert

Backstage Before the Concert. Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose, California. September 27, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Musicians backstage preparing for the concert.

Musicians Backstage Before the Concert
Musicians Backstage Before the Concert

Musicians Backstage Before the Concert. Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose, California. September 27, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Musicians backstage at the California Theater, preparing for a Symphony Silicon Valley concert

Checking the Score
Checking the Score

Checking the Score. Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose, California. September 27, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Timpanist Robert Erlebach and conductor Karen Kamensek consult the score during a break in a Symphony Silicon Valley rehearsal

Consulting at the Break
Consulting at the Break

Consulting at the Break. Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose, California. September 26, 2-14. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Conductor Karen Kamensek and violinist Allison “Gigi” Dang consult the conductor’s score during a rehearsal break


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Violist Janet Sims

Violist Janet Sims
Violist Janet Sims

Violist Janet Sims. San Jose, California. June 5, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved

Symphony Silicon Valley violist Janet Sims at a June, 2014 rehearsal

This weekend I am sharing two more photographs from my ongoing project photographing professional classical musicians, a three-year project during which I have the opportunity to attend many rehearsals and concerts and generally spend a lot of time learning to see and understand this world. (I already understood more than most since I’ve been part of it in several ways for many years.) Both of these photographs are casual shots made during rehearsals. Such photos remind us of several things, I think. First, it is possible to get some odd ideas about who the musicians are if your only experience is seeing them in formal concert situations — but backstage and during rehearsals… they are “regular people” just like all of us. Second, and from the same perspective, it is easy to overlook that fact that the vast majority of the work necessary for a live performance is actually done outside of the performance, with often intense and lengthy periods of individual practice and preparation and significant time spent on group rehearsal. And, finally, in both of these photographs I think you will see the intense focus of these musicians. Janet Sims is a first-stand violist in the Symphony Silicon Valley.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.