Photography has produced few prodigies in comparison to music, but the first image in Somewhere There's Music, a portrait of jazz singer Jimmy Ruffing, taken when Larry Fink was just sixteen, casts a vote in Fink's favor. Today, fifty years after Ruffing's portrait was made, Larry Fink is respected on the international photography scene with the same regard as many of his subjects are in their respective milieu: Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Lightning Hopkins, John Coltrane and many more names well-known to jazz and popular music fans.
Released in December 2006 by the Italian publisher Damiani, Somewhere There's Music is a public as well as a private chronicle for the photographer and the musicians. In his introduction, Fink writes:"The book is not meant to be thorough, it is not comprehensive, it is peppered with favoritism...the images reflect where I have traveled, what I have seen and heard...Music, foul and growling, dark, round and tranquil, long and clear. It is for me the river of life. It feeds me on the deepest level. I wish to share with all, the majesty of being witness to sound."
Featuring over 80 duotone black and white photos, the handsomely styled hardcover edition of Somewhere There's Music also includes free-flowing quotations from musicians such as violinist Leroy Jenkins expressing his goals and visions: "I want to roam the boundaries of universal music with impunity. I want the weight of music's history, the freshness of tomorrow's expectations...I want improvisation without musical notation, as well as the mysteries of the notated page. I want the brutal beauty of our times reflected in my music. Of course my version of freedom has boundaries too. Don't want to go too far out, might lose myself. I would like to see my music on the world scene, as a rendition of the American scene, both Black and White, and all the other various colors."
In recent years, Larry Fink's use of off-camera flash has become his trademark. A pioneer of the technique, he often works with a square format, preferring to stick with film for his most important projects. A master of directing the viewer's attention through the use of diagonal composition and chiaroscuro, Fink advanced this technique in photography after studying the work of Renaissance painters such as Caravaggio. Many of his signature images found in earlier books, beginning in 1980 with Social Graces, followed by Boxing, Runway, and several other titles were made using flash. Thus the inclusion of numerous previously unpublished photographs made in the 1960's using available light brings a new appreciation to the range of his technique. A photographer's photographer, Fink remains one of the most influential teachers in the field.
Somewhere There's Music will be of interest to all jazz fans as well as anyone interested in black and white photography in the tradition of personal and empathetic reportage. Larry Fink's photographs reveal both his life and the lives of his subjects. But just as the jazz Fink loves escapes traditional musical structure, his vision and the light from his flash transcend the traditional photograph. Like a perfectly improvised piano or tenor solo, they bypass the brain and travel straight to the heart.
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