It has been a marvelous privilege to help people express themselves to future generations! I have produced LifeStory Portraits™ for people ranging in age from 13 to 88, so far. Several have been people turning fifty. Some have been couples celebrating fifty years of marriage. There are important milestones all through one's life. Having the vivid sound of one's voice adds great dimension to the portraits. It has also been gratifying to restore photographs from earlier in people's lives and include them in the heirloom albums. Creating digital versions for grandchildren's phones has been a great development too.
One year after our wedding, Mary Ann got to present at a conference in San Francisco. Then we traveled up the Pacific Coast on a two week camping trip all the way to the Olympic National Park and Mt. Ranier. Here we are in the Samuel P. Taylor State Forest in California. It was late Autumn. Aaah, what a great time!
Tessa Lark, Jinjoo Cho and Ji Yoon Lee each performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The contestants choose which piece to play. Tessa led Walton's "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra". Jinjoo led Korngold's "Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35" and Ji Yoon led Tchaikovsky's "Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Op 35". Conductor Joel Smirnoff explained in his pre-concert talk that he allows the contestant to set the pace and feel of the piece. He leads the orchestra to follow his or her lead. This was an interesting surprise for me. They all earned standing ovations. Of course, I stood through the entire concert at my tripod in a box at the back of the auditorium with a sound muzzle around my camera and a super-telephoto zoom. I got to watch in high magnification. What a thrill! I enthuse about practically all my assignments. This International Violin Competition is certainly one of my favorites!
To see additional photographs and purchase prints or digital files, click this link
I've been asked many times, "Are you digital". Often I have replied, "No, of course not, I'm corporeal! Though I do use digital cameras." I bought into digital imaging back in the 1990s when it was a big breakthrough for Nikon to innovate the digital single lens reflex D1 with 2,740,000 pixels for $5,000. That was a price drop of $23,000 compared to the Kodak/Nikon hybrid cameras that had been out for a little while. I bought the D1, then the D1X, and many others up to my current 24,000,000 pixel D600 that is my current main camera. Now, I find the question about being digital is reasserting because our perception is being pushed more and more to experience the digital world instead of the "Real, perhaps infinitely high-definition World" that is all around us. SLR cameras have allowed us to view the world through the lens. At the speed of light, the actual photon waves that bounce off of the mountains of Yosemite, or our loved one's smile have come through our lens, bounced off a mirror, through a prism and focusing screen into our eyes. The viewfinder in my professional Nikon is superbly subtle and clear. Many other cameras, including my iPhone, make us view the world in transcription through digital algorithms that signal light emitting diodes to glow. We watch a little monitor that makes its own photons with its own programed contrast, hue, brightness and other subtleties. Currently, some very good, and quiet, cameras are being sold, some may even have the same sensor as mine, but they do not allow one to view the "real world's light". You have to watch through an electronic viewfinder, a mini computer monitor. As I prepared to photograph the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, I did a lot of research regarding the best camera technology for the job and considered these new electronic viewfinder cameras by Fuji and Sony. After hours of testing, graciously allowed by my friends at Roberts, I decided I strongly prefer the optical viewfinder. I like to see the same photons that bounce from the violin and face of my subject. It is better to have my camera in a pillow-like camera muzzle to quiet the sound of the mirror popping out of the way to let the light pass to the sensor, than to have to witness brilliance transcribed by camera programs. Of course, ultimately, I am producing a print or image on screen that is not the original subject. Still, as the photographic artist, writing with light, I maintain my perception of the subject as a real living, breathing reflector of light. Truly they seem to glow of their own power too. And my eye gets to absorb those very photons and waves of energy. This more direct experience surely yields different artistry. Yay! Here's to being corporeal!
Of course, the speed of light is fantastic, about 186,000 miles per second. So, it only takes nanoseconds or less to go the 150 feet from from the spot lights, reflect off of the violinist, through my super-photo lens and onto my image sensor. Each photon is reflecting off of a different molecule of the performer, especially as he or she speeds through a Paganini Caprice or Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's "Fantasy for Solo Violin". As the photographer, I have to decide how much time may elapse. I can capture a 1/500 second burst that virtually freezes the violinist's motion but this often seems wrong to me. The feeling of astonishing speed is one of the wonders of the performance. In these photographs, I experimented with a range of blur. The first one of Kristi Gjezi was .3 seconds. I'm not sure how many times the bow went up and down in that time. I like this photograph. It feels like "writing with light" which is the meaning of "photo-graphy". Most of the time, I seek a balance with more sharpness and only a hint of motion blur. What do you prefer?
Jinjoo Cho w/ Rohan De Silva on Piano
Stephen Waarts w/ Chih-Yi Chen on Piano
Stephen Kim w/ Nelson Padgett on Piano
Ji Youn Lee w/ Thomas Hoppe on Piano
All photographs © Denis Ryan Kelly Jr. One may purchase prints or digital files at this link...
Friends and family gathered from far and wide: New York City, Ontario, even Nigeria, to share the love with Erin and Chow. Congratulations!
You may see the entire wedding and order fine prints at http://pictage.com/1621889
Welcome performers and fans! Congratulations! The following links will take you to my web partner Pictage. They will host the edited sets of photographs from every round I witness. A sampling of preliminary and semi-final performances will be photographed. You may view and purchase prints or digital files from Pictage.
Opening Ceremonies at the Indiana Roof Ballroom
IVCI Preliminaries 9-9-2014
at Frank and Katrina Basile Theater, Indiana History Center
Tianyun Jia w/ Nelson Padgett on pianoPhotography is © Denis Ryan Kelly Jr.
Ui-Youn Hong w/ Chih-Yi Chen on piano
Petteri Iivonen w/ Nelson Padgett on piano
Kristi Gjezi w/ Thomas Hoppe on piano
Classical Finals with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra
BSA LifeStructures Finals with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
BMO Private Bank Gala Awards Ceremony and Reception
Here are a sampling of the IVCI Opening Gala at Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. Many more can be viewed and purchased at the link above. May the competition be passionate and wonderful!
My former student, Cody Ebbeler, graduated a while back and went off to Hollywood to work on film crews and gain experience. Recently he moved back to Indy and approached me with an offer to produce a brief video about my perspective in life. Yesterday, he showed up with a crew of three other professional media people to work cameras, lights and sound. We had a great time and I feel delighted. Thanks Chris, Dustin, Peter and Cody! You were marvelous to work among. I made these photographs as they worked.
I'm excited to post the video soon after they finish editing.
Two years ago, I took up the sport of archery. As a boy, my father, sister and I practiced with simple fiberglass bows in the backyard. Now, I am delighted to have a Bear Super Kodiak bow. It is a superb piece of craftsmanship. Human have used bows and arrows for tens of thousands of years. The sensation is primordially satisfying.
One of my privileges is to sing. On this occasion, I was asked by the Art Institute of Indianapolis to open their graduation ceremony with the National Anthem. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Ernie Yezzy of Clowes for the professional recording!
One of the privileges of my life is photographing live performance: operas, dance, and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Violin.org shows the upcoming events. I've been commissioned to photograph each phase of this competition in September. I need to be nearly silent and zoom in on the action. My Publicity page has key moments from the last competition in 2010. The gold medal is only one of the outstanding prizes that draws the best talent from around the world. Last week I did studio "portraits" of the medal which is graced by the likeness of Josef Gingold. Here is a glimpse. I hope you feel the allure and will attend some of the competition. If you do, find me and say "Hi".
This is a test of the Emergency Blogging System. This is a test to confirm iPad blogabilty. So far, so good.
This photograph was made this week amidst the turbulent weather that yielded tornados and intense rainfall. Global climate change seems a certified fact. Tonight's episode of Cosmos made the case very compellingly. We must exert our human ingenuity to use clean energy and sustainable agriculture. I pray for our wisdom to increase. Please Great G'd, help us to be good stewards of the Earth!