Steve Lacy Series

Steve Lacy Series 1977-78 / 2011
14x14" inkjet prints 
click on images to enlarge

This body of work was inspired by the music of American composer and soprano saxophone performer Steve Lacy (1934-2004) who left the states to live in Paris so he could play his music free of compromise.  I met him several times before he died in 2004.  He was a kind and humble person who lived his music which was lyrical and aggressive, funny and philosophical.  He spoke of music as an impersonal force that blew through him.  His job was to honor the music, to allow it to go where it wanted to go.

I was especially impressed by Lacy's original and gutsy solo soprano saxophone recordings.  I loved his beautiful tone;  I loved the oriental influence - the way he bent notes and used silence; I was fascinated by the way he structured his pieces and repeated phrases; I loved the way he created musical portraits of animals and things and feelings and situations, and the way he titled his compositions (The Crust, The Wane, Naked Lunch, Deadline).   

In 1978 I exhibited this work at the Renaissance Society Galleries, University of Chicago in which I arranged the unmounted prints (16x20" gelatin silver prints behind glass) on the wall in such a way that the images became like a graphic musical score.   Members from the Chicago based group AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Chicago) were invited to perform at the opening.  They moved through the exhibition and improvised to the individual images and to the installation.  They told me they wrote some pieces for the opening based on the installation as well. I saw one musician actually put his horn right up to a photograph and blow into it!

Recordings of Lacy's music was played in the galleries throughout the duration of the exhibition.  The art critic for the Chicago Tribune said it was one of the best shows on 1978 in Chicago.

The original 1977-78 gelatin silver prints are 13x13" image size on 16x20 paper.  For the 2010 digital revision set, the inkjet prints are 14x14".

  L 1

  L 2

  L  3


  L 5

  L 6

  L 7

  L  8

  L 9

  L  1 0

  L 1 1


  L 1 3

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Steve Lacy was a student of Thelonius Monk, and played with Monk.  Later, when he was on his own he would often honored Monk with entire concerts of Monk compositions.  See my series of photographs honoring  Monk and his Quirky Music. 

Also Visit  Other Music-Inspired Projects.   

Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.