Maestro Bramwell Tovey

Maestro Tovey arrived at my studio carrying several different outfits including his formal attire for conducting.

Although I had seen him many times on the stage, this was the first time I had actually met him. He was no different from how I saw him on the stage, courteous, relaxed and spontaneous. I also knew he could be very funny and entertaining.

I have found that it is sometimes difficult to photograph someone who has a strong public image like Maestro Tovey. I tried, however, to find and photograph something different. I knew I was having a hard time, in spite of the fact he was willing to do everthing that I asked.

It was, though, a truly wonderful and priviledged experience, and Maestro talked about his background, his career and his personal life. I took quite a few photographs but nevertheless I felt uncertain about them.

When I finally looked at contact sheets from the film negatives, I realized that I had been right about my uncertainty. All I saw was the VSO conductor Maestro Tovey with whom I was familiar, except this photograph and a few others seemed special. What I see in this photograph is an artist, regardless of his specific acheivements and social status. In a way, this was a turning point in my portrait photography. I realized that my portraits were not about glorifying the image of a person. It became clear to me that I wanted to photograph the person himself or herself.

This photograph was taken in 2004 in my studio

Maestro Bramwell Tovey is the music director for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 2000. He is also a composer and a pianist.

Yukiko Onley is a Vancouver based photographer specializing in photographing people. Her sevice is available upon request.


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