The jump between film and photography is a lateral one that many take one way or another. Colin Lane when to the University of Texas for film, a long way from his New England roots. When he made the transition to a photographic focus, being a band’s principle photographer had not been his goal—but between 2001 and 2006, he achieved just that.
One slender hand cloaked by a black, Chanel glove rests easily on the lower back of a nude woman, who leans forward and arches her back. The shot is a close composition, and reveals absolutely nothing seemingly “inappropriate” by any means. We see her shape and her smooth skin—nothing more. By simply describing the piece, one would have no idea just how erotic and eye-catching the photo truly is.
Though he had just spent the day at a fashion shoot, the photo was not among those taken in a professional setting. He was at his apartment, wanting to use up the rest of his Polaroids. The woman in the photo is not a renowned model (at least, we don’t know for sure, as the identity of the woman has never been revealed), she is his at-the-time girlfriend.
…when she slid the glove on and bent forward, I knew it was the perfect shot – simple, straightforward, graphic and just so sexy. When I developed it, I stuck it in my portfolio and thought nothing more of it.”
Photography for the Strokes
Fast forward a year or two to early 2001. Colin Lane has been commissioned by the Face, a fashion magazine popular between the 1980s to the mid-2000s, to photograph an up-and-coming band, The Strokes. It was Lane’s first commission, and it was The Strokes’ first real photoshoot. They snuck up to the roof of a building to get great shots of the band against the New York Skyline at sunset.
A few weeks later, Lane was called upon again by the band to take a few more pictures and just hang out. Lane brought his portfolio on a whim, and out of sheer luck, their art director called and insist they find an album cover for their first album,Is This It. So, Lane handed it over, and the band picked the photo of Lane’s ex-girlfriend.
From then, until 2006, Colin Lane became their regular photographer. He toured with them, shot the lead singer’s wedding, and became friends with them. When things began to unravel between bandmates, Lane moved on to other acts—such as Kings of Leon, Beck, and many more, but Lane says, “nothing has ever compared to the Strokes.”
It’s a shame, because they were incredible: even when they were on top of the world, they never became jerks. To the end, they always were welcoming, intelligent and humble young guys who deserved their success.”
Popular song from The Strokes’ first album, Is this It.
Credit: Janet Axelrod, Courtesty of Eva Conti, 2018
Eva Conti is a professional, touring musician who has traveled globally for her work– from Palm Beach, to Tel Aviv. She is proficient in a variety of instruments such as guitar and piano, but her primary instrument is the French Horn, in which she has a Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
Ms. Conti is not only an gifted musician, but an incredible Flamenco dancer. Her ability as a dancer is another talent that has taken her across the world. When travelling more locally, she choreographs some of her own work and performs with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra.
Interviewology: Describe your evolution from music lover to performer.
Eva Conti: Music was in the family. My mother was an amateur classical pianist and was always playing Chopin. My dad was a jazz bebop musician and performed with the big bands by the age of 16. In Korea during the war, he played a bit then came back to play the sax. He was disillusioned with some of his colleagues and chose another profession, then moved to Paterson, New Jersey. I grew up in Old Tappan. Our house was always loaded with musicians, even late at night. I grew up in that musical atmosphere, and was taught to play percussion and flute at a young age. I followed my older sister’s piano lessons and her trajectory into music. In high school, I picked up guitar, playing mostly Joni Mitchell. I started playing and singing in coffee houses in college at the University of Rhode Island, where I earned degrees in biology and classical guitar.
I was introduced to the French Horn in college and began playing it regularly. After completing college, I met David Jolly, a horn player of the Newport Classical Music Festival. It was an interesting time, and I started studying with him. I went for my Masters at the Manhattan School of Music for the horn. I played in lots of different venues and circumstances. The horn eventually became more a more prominent part of my life. Music became a calling, taking me over. I built my career studying and slowly getting more paid work in New York City, and moved to Israel. I was married to a musician in the Israel Philharmonic. I auditioned for the opera orchestra in Tel Aviv and got the job.
We toured together. It was a great time for me– touring the world. I later played with most of the orchestras in Tel Aviv and lived there four years.
That’s when I started to learn Flamenco as a diversion. In Tel Aviv, there were five Flamenco studios. The roots of the dance are Moorish, Jewish, Gypsy, and Indian. It’s a cultural blend. In Israel there is a cultural link, particularly with the intensity of the art. I took classes there and had a great teacher who taught me castanets. I had always been interested in Flamenco performers like Paco De Lucia. My mother’s mother is from Spain and my Mom’s dad is from Peru, so I have that background. I used to pretend to be a Flamcenco dancer as a kid.
I: What composers do you hold especially dear to your heart?
EC: My tastes are rooted in Flamenco. Paco De Lucia was a major influence. The documentary Light & Shade shows what happened to him and how he became the greatest Flamenco guitarist. He was forced to practice ten hours per day by his father, and was the bread winner for his family. He had flawless technique, facility, and there is this relaxation that happens when he plays. It is very special. I try to take that into my performance as a horn player. Tensing up is a problem when playing any instrument. Relaxing is key to great performance. He was a great inspiration for me, watching him play.
For classical composers, I love experiencing Mahler’s symphony live as an audience member. The big orchestra pieces are very visceral for me. I enjoy playing them too. I enjoy clear, clean Mozart– like his string pieces. I love to hear that kind of performance.
For contemporary, for the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival we are playing a piece that has never been recorded by John Addison, an English composer. I am excited about this piece. I love John Williams too. The element of fun with a new piece with no reference point. It is an enjoyable experience, enjoying the use of color, their influences from their time. I like the process of doing lesser known work or a new piece and hearing where it came from.
I’m going to be dancing in March of 2019 with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra in South Florida– in Palm Beach Gardens, Stuart, and the Boca Symphonia for Sunday Concerts at the St. Andrew’s School.
I am also doing my own choreography for Flamenco. The evolution of it was an interesting process. After the fact, observing it, I realized my influences. The connection is very interesting. While I love playing for the ballet and seeing these pieces, I learn a little about classical training as a dancer versus more modern approaches to choreography. People like Martha Graham are doing their own thinking.
The thing about Flamnceo that has always kept my interest is that I love the tradition of it. There is plenty of fusion, now but I respect the experimental side of it. It may draw in audiences that you might not otherwise get.
New technologies like smartphone video help us capture more, but it also hurts the tradition.
When I stayed in Granada, it was a great experience. Lorca felt at the time that Flamenco was not respected enough, and Manuel de Falla, started a competition for singing at the Alhambra that still exists. I love the age and historicity of flamenco and how it can be molded to accept other influences. My teacher was a very traditional teacher– Jose Molina of the Jose Greco company in New York City.
My family and my husband are supportive of my career, because of the demands of travel. Flamenco’s tradition of oral and verbal transference of the tradition is very special.
I: If you could perform in one symphony hall which would it be?
EC: My favorite was the Musikverein in Vienna. I have not yet played in the Sydney Opera House, and I would love to play there. I did play in La Scala and Carnegie Hall and was blessed with those experiences. The Philadelphia Orchestra Hall is also lovely.
Editor’s Note: Lorian Bartle is a guitarist and music educator in Denver. Her career has spanned more than two decades. She is noted for her graceful playing and her melding of classical guitar with more uniquely stylistic flourishes that brush upon the traditions of folk music and other genres.
This interview was conducted via email.
Interviewology: What was your favorite musical instrument growing up? At what age did you begin playing an instrument?
Lorian Bartle: I always had an affinity for string instruments. I began taking violin lessons at age 7. When I was 15, I switched to the guitar. I began my guitar studies learning chords and singing Beatles songs, but soon began to learn classical guitar. The guitar is such an intimate instrument due to the direct hand contact one has with the strings and the ability to create a myriad of different tone colors. I have been hooked to the beautiful sounds and wonderful repertoire of the classical guitar ever since.
Interviewology: Describe your path and evolution as a musician.
L B: I received a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Vassar College and Master of Music degree in music theory at Florida State University. Following my university studies, I received extensive post-graduate private instruction from guitarist Ricardo Iznaola. In addition, I took private voice lessons from Kevin Kennedy and Katrina Twitty. I worked as an elementary music teacher for 12 years and have running a guitar studio and performing in the Denver area since 2012.
Interviewology: How would you describe your teaching philosophy as a music educator?
L B: I encourage my students to experience the joy of playing an instrument by developing skills that lead to confident playing: (1) acquiring a solid playing technique (2) applying music theory to performance (3) cultivating artistic expression. Students are given three studio performance opportunities per year in community-based settings to share their musical gifts with others.
Interviewology: If you could play with any musician who would it be?
L B: I would play classical guitar duets with Christopher Parkening, the American guitarist who brought classical guitar into mainstream America. Christopher Parkening recordings are unabashedly expressive. His technique always served to express his musical intent. In addition, he has a very humble approach to his accomplishments on the guitar and is an engaging storyteller, both in his music and interviews.
Interviewology: Which musicians have inspired you the most along your path?
L B: Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin’s musical accomplishments made during a time in which female guitarists were few and far between was very inspirational to me during my teens and 20s. Conductor Marin Alsop’s engaging, informative approach to conducting was an additional inspiration to me. I was fortunate enough to live in Denver when she was the principal conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
Interviewology: Do you believe classical music has a demographic issue regarding attracting younger audiences? What would you say to orchestras to increase their audience?
L B: I definitely think it takes innovative programming approaches and effective marketing to attract younger audiences to classical music. The most effective marketing of classical music involves classical musicians reaching out and performing in their communities outside the concert hall. I believe that the coffee house singer-songwriters should be an inspiration to classical musicians as far as connecting with a community in intimate community venues goes.
Interviewology: What was the most rewarding artistic experience you have had so far?
L B: It is hard to pinpoint one specific performance that was the most rewarding–I have experienced so many! One performance that stands out in my mind was playing at the Foothills Art Center member night opening for an art exhibition. Performing instrumental music from the ages while surrounded by beautiful glass sculptures was an exquisite experience! In contrast, I have been very inspired performing for Alzheimer patients who don’t recognize people around them, but have vivid musical memories which allow them to lift their voices in song.
Interviewology: Describe your relationship to philanthropy as a musician. Have you ever played to help or enchant others on a pro bono basis?
L B: I began my evolution as a performer by volunteering at local senior homes. In addition, I performed during church services and at open mics. I gained valuable performance experience in interactive performance settings. To this day, I perform new repertoire in community-based settings to gain a deeper understanding of my music with an appreciative audience.
Interviewology: How do you feel about experimental approaches to classical music? Are their any composers from the 20th century that you enjoy?
L B: I wrote my thesis on twelve-tone music by Anton Webern, so I definitely am a proponent of innovative approaches to music! Additionally, I enjoy watching developments in opera with creative staging, new compositions, and unorthodox musical writing. I think that many of today’s experimental approaches to music are taking place in the world of opera.