Private View & Launch Party
September 30th saw the opening and private view of my solo exhibition, Opera By The River. Thrilled that so many friends and colleagues could join, some making considerable journeys to get there. An equally great joy was to be reunited again with the amazingly talented musicians from the Royal College of Music. A true delight to meet up with the amazing singers and instrumentalists who were part of Albert Herring, the opera.
The exhibition, kindly supported by Olympus, will continue until October the 11th on Riverside Walkway, South Bank, London.
The second part of the evening took place at the launch party (opening night only) at The Deck in the National Theatre.
As is customary on such occasions, I had a short speech to give and thought to share it here with a wider audience:
There are some people in this room who I have known for over 25 years and some in this room who I have known for nine months (no, I’m not pregnant, this is all me!). Regardless, you’ve all been part of my life in photography and it’s such a joy to share this reportage with you. As Albert Herring went on his journey in the opera, I too had the pleasure of going on a journey with this most amazing group of supremely talented singers and instrumentalists from the Royal College of Music. 31,794 pictures shot over seven months meant I could really share with the wider world the passion and hard work that goes into putting on such a wonderful opera and I thank every single person involved for letting me delve so deeply with my cameras.
This reportage was a personal project. It came from the wish of wanting to shoot a photo essay and as luck would have it, I met Christopher Middleton on one of my workshops. When I found out he was Assistant Head of Opera at the Royal College of Music, this got me thinking. Speaking over several months when I found out about Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring being the next production, with Britten having been a former pupil and the college’s theater being called the Britten Theatre, everything just seemed to come together.
I must say thanks to Michael Rosewell and Nick Sears from the Opera School who along with Christopher saw my vision for this project and welcomed me in with open arms. My thanks naturally extend to the Directorate for letting me have the access I needed to shoot such an intimate and in depth essay.
My thanks to the wonderful string quartet from the Royal College of Music for their beautiful music; you’ve made my heart sing.
My gratitude also goes to the super talented Stuart Smith for designing such a wonderful exhibition. It’s such a joy to work with someone not only so pleasant, but also with so much passion and understanding of photography. Stuart also kindly designed an exhibition book to go along with this project. Please make sure you pick up one of the free book leaflets and write in for your copy. It really looks amazing and I must admit to being teary eyed when I first saw the final design.
I’d also like to congratulate the wonderful team at Standard8 led by Tom Snell for their beautiful printing and exhibition construction. Over 350,000 people will see this exhibition and I’m proud for my images to be displayed in such a wonderful installation.
It’s one thing to have an idea and another thing to shoot it. Making it available for all to see is the next big hurdle. After all, pictures that remain in boxes or tucked away in virtual folders on hard drives don’t ever live up to their potential to move people. My immense gratitude goes to Olympus, not only for making the wonderful cameras I used to shoot Opera By The River, but for seeing and believing in my idea. I have to single out Mark Thackara from Olympus for his support. If it wasn’t for Olympus and the countless people there who have made this exhibition and book a reality, we wouldn’t all be together now. Thank you all so much.
Finally, thank you all; friends, colleagues and guests for coming this evening. Hope you’ve enjoyed the show and will help spread the word so others will get a chance to see the exhibition before it closes on October the 11th.
You’ve seen what they look like but the real treat to hear what they sound like. I’m thrilled to say that we are all about to be treated to a little bit of Britten’s Albert Herring by the wonderful people at the Royal College of Music.
Further reading on Opera By The River:
I hope that you can pop by and enjoy the exhibition before it finishes and also share this post widely so more will get a chance to visit the installation.