The Shape of a Cello

As a lot of you know, I take a lot of pictures. So when I say I’ve just taken one of my all time favorites photos, it’s a pretty bold statement.

I’m currently on Bainbridge Island in Washington for two photo shoots with a women Michele and I met on a plane to Wisconsin seven years ago. Her name is Ryah and we’ve worked together on a couple of shoots. She’s an absolute joy to work with. She’s creative, she has great ideas and she has a passion for creating art.

For this shoot we were making it up as we went along. I saw a cello in her living when I first got to her house and it caught my eye as a prop we may want to use. It’s her roommate’s cello but she said she was framilier with how to play it. We started shooting in the backyard where I found some open shade areas to work in. Ryah had the idea posing in a swim suit from behind the cello so that it looked like she was nude. I agreed it was an incredible idea but in reality that was probably in my thoughts from the time I first saw the cello.

What I didn’t realize, until I saw Ryah standing with the cello, was how wonderfully the instrument mimics the shape of women’s body. I’m sure I’ve seen this shape relationship before in art history but this was the first time I had the opputunity to utilize it. Also, I had a memory connection with the original Pink Panther movie where Peter Sellers is holding a guitar in the very same way at a nudist resort. I’m a huge Pink Panther Fan so this was a bit a dream come true to connect with my favorite movie. In reality it was a photo I’ve always wanted to make but never knew it.

This was the second shot in the series of photos and although we went on to take a dozen more, this one just stands out as being absolutely brilliant to me. Ryah’s expression is honest and authentic, her hands are in a position that suggest her covering her breasts while the tailpiece mimics the shape of the inner thighs. None of this was planned, it was the perfect example of serendipity.

The results really emphasizes the need to go through the process and do the work. Creativity just isn’t coming up with a great idea, it’s working through the spark of an idea and seeing where it leads! Most creative people know this but try and think everything through. There’s no waiting for inspiration, it just happens when you do the work. That’s why I’m out on the road creating photos, creating art and creating moments.

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Terry Schmidbauer:


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