Sunday, April 23, 2017
   
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Vibrant photographs of a vibrant jazz scene: what's involved

Have you seen the front page of the OttawaJazzScene.ca website this past week? Our original photography continues to be an essential part of our vivid and insightful reporting about the scene – as it has been since we started in 2009.

As I look at the front page of OttawaJazzScene.ca now, I smile, remembering the performances that we recently reported about in both words and pictures: freshly interpreted standards sung by a Juno winner on a prominent NAC stage; improvised music made in a nuclear war bunker; a student's final performance recital responded to with a standing ovation; and a deconstructed accordion, reassembled then played in a bookstore – to mention only a few. Scroll down and see them all for yourself. We hope that OttawaJazzScene.ca' photojournalism helps bring to you the performances you enjoyed or missed, or will be seeing. Note that essential word “photojournalism.” It's important! It means our photos conform to accepted standards of truthful reporting. Our images aren't “photoshopped”. Performers (or music stands!) we don't like are never erased from the image, and musicians are not rearranged into a more pleasing visual arrangement. (That's called photo-illustration, and you can see a clearly labeled example of it here.)

The photos are not downloaded from our cameras as you see them; instead, the camera generates them as “raw” images. Like a film negative, they require “developing” to be included in a webpage or printed. It takes several hours after we have “finished” photographing an event (doing the actual shooting), to carefully adjust photos (often for brightness – most venues that performances are in have inadequate light for proper exposure) and to edit them to a smaller set and one key photo that tells the story honestly and fairly. Edited photos may be published with an associated written story, and always with attribution.

A photographer's name on an image is an indication of his or her responsibility for their photojournalism work, as well credit for it. Attribution of a Canadian creator's work is also required under the Canadian Copyright Act unless the author / photographer / other artist of the work has specifically waived their 'moral rights', as they are known.


Mike Essoudry ©Brett Delmage, 2010


Michel Delage ©Brett Delmage, 2015

Photojournalistic photos may not misrepresent a real-life situation, however there is still much opportunity for creativity. Last week I selected photos of two drummers for an upcoming two-drummer performance. I retrieved two photos (from my archive of tens of thousands of jazz photos) that allowed the two drummers to face each other in the website article, Mirror Duo: Mike Essoudry and Michel Delage converse by drum on Thursday and then I cropped the images to present them as equal musical partners. Their backgrounds really excited me. These were simple: a blackboard and architectural door frame in one, and curtains in the other. To my eyes, these background perfectly symbolized the individual musical pulses and rhythms they they would bring to the performance.

What do you think?

As always, we very much welcome your comments on our published work. Loved something? Hated it? Don't get it? Please share your thoughts with me via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or with Alayne McGregor at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Good light,
Brett

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