1. “Many standard sites are visually spectacular.”
Yes, I agree that they probably are, but if they are done to death, why not leave the dead in peace?
2. “Why do musicians play jazz standards?”
I think they do that for a variety of reasons, not least of all that the audience often recognizes them and that helps with the atmosphere (Greatest Hits Syndrome) where they play. Standards are well known – by definition – and the musicians will probably all be familiar with the structure of the pieces, allowing for a better, more contained combined effort. Where ‘guest’ players sometimes join in, the well-known numbers are usually the ones that get the spin because of their easily recognized form to all the players.
Not all musicians are particularly creative – not any more so than are all snappers; they do what they do according to the music sheet or, if far enough out of that, then play around melody and chord sequences that bring them back to a unified position just in time to go walkies again together.
At least, as a non-musician, that’s how it has seemed to me over the years. It isn’t as complicated as it looks, that’s for sure! If you spend time over a season, going to all the gigs of a particular group of musos, you do realise that they repeat much of the same musical portfolio time after time; it makes their lives simple, the audiences seldom being the same each session. Too much familiarity can breed a certain contempt; well, not contempt, but it isn’t difficult to become a little blasé after a while. It’s like it must have been living with a Hollywood goddess: the reality must eventually leave you somewhat underwhelmed. So what chance mere mortals with instruments?
I sometimes found myself working to tight layouts too; not a stack of fun, but the nature of some parts of the game.
Much of my life in fashion was relatively free, apart from some Vogue-destined trips where I had to shoot twenty-year-old girls I’d never seen before wearing clothes designed for middle-aged ladies-who-lunched. The girls were usually about size 10 and the clothes from the manufacturers were sizes 12 or 14. Farcical. At least the standard collections I used to shoot twice a year were made to suit the models we chose, and it was up to me to do my thing and come up with interesting pics that some unknown (to me) magazine somewhere would want to publish, and that sales reps could give to stores that stocked their range.
Had a giggle: we did a studio shot of my muse in a tank top and hot pants, about to stick a banana into her mouth; we had huge fun that afternoon and never really expected the client would go along with it. He did: it became one of some 60”x40” colour prints for their stand, and made the front cover of a Helsinki newspaper reporting their show. Alas, can’t scan it: newspaper lost (destroyed by self) along with all the magazines and my other fashion material. What the hell was I thinking when I flew the coop from Britain? Not a damned thing survives from all those years in the rag trade. Maybe self-destruction is built-in; perhaps a kind of safety valve that lets one seek out fresh pastures.
Did anyone see the tv show on the Beeb tonight about F. Scott Fitzgerald? Some fabulous shots of OOF car lights on city streets… the programme was also rather interesting; he could have been living the life of a photographer, for all the differences between that and one of writing. On the subject of the car lights: it occurred to me that the images, shot on long lenses, were especially interesting because they weren’t stills but slowly moving…