Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I cannot sing, I paint.
Although I love to sing, there are many who would cry “stick to the day job”, so I photograph! There are few things in life that are more perfect than listening to a beautiful moving song. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman playing Holmes and Watson in Sherlock, mushrooms (in any form), Dorothea Lange’s haunting depression photography, Stuart Maconie chatting on about the music he loves, and Meredith Frampton’s portraits in the Tate National are things that ring my personal and admittedly quirky bell.
Perfect in isolation, but particularly perfect at this point in our social history is the work and sounds that are brought about by Gareth Malone, (https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryWivesChoir?ref=ts#!/pages/Gareth-Malone/79992688731) although I suspect he is currently a less quirky choice than some of my others, judging by the reaction on Radio 2, the Twitterverse and Facebook, his steady body of work each year has finally culminated in the kind of praise and recognition he deserves
He is sweet, earnestly enthusiastic, slightly geeky middle class choir master. Who knew that he would ultimately be able to inspire everyone from small boys to anxious military wives barely used to the limelight to soar to wonderful sonorous heights of sound and emotion.
Let’s not miss out his subjects though, part of the appeal of the programmes made for adult and children’s TV are the characters of the performers, none of whom have been anywhere near professional. The gorgeous Kitty Lee, now sadly no longer with us, who despite her advancing years learnt to sing a song in Latin with the South Oxhey choir. I suspect that had Gareth not taught her line by line the song, she would have admitted defeat.
He brings out the best in the people he works with and by association, we the viewing public too. There is currently a daily cry at 8.22 every morning when Chris Evans http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p2d9w, plays “Wherever You Are”, the gorgeous Military Wives https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryWivesChoir?ref=ts song, soon to be a single based on the love letters sent between themselves and their partners serving in Afganistan.
On a day when a large proportion of public sector workers are reminding us that they chose to take jobs that were largely worse paid because they either had a vocation or preferred to have a safe secure future with a good pension with less initial salary, then it is clear that we as a nation need as much harmony as we can get.
Ever since the mid 80s, when a certain “lady” sent us up the wrong turning and claimed not to think that society existed we have needed to find things like this important, and to paraphrase Gareth himself said, people need the excuse to get together and singing makes us feel better.
This is a photography blog isn’t it, I hear you cry? Well the same reasons that I love photography, it’s ability to view the soul is very similar, only in this case the soul is heard rather than seen.