09 March 2010

Happy Birthday Yuri and Sam!


Today marks the birthday of two very different and altogether unrelated heroes: Yuri Gagarin and Samuel Barber. Gagarin, the first human being to leave the Earth, is a Russian hero and was a symbol of Russia's prominence in the space race; Barber was a quintessential American composer whose style stood in dramatic contrast to the reigning trends of European composers of the mid-20th century. We salute them today with a Barber-inspired setting of the famous Russian folk-tune "Polyushko Pole," also known as "O Field, My Field."

Visually wishing a happy birthday to two dead men is a tough thing to do. So in a way, I didn't. I focused on the idea of being the first man in space. I imagine it could become alienating, pun possibly intended. So I shot myself spotlighted, otherwise in the dark. I used a very simple light set up (I'm holding the umbrella the flash is bouncing into) to create the dramatic transition between light and shadow. I also have my back against the fence which now separates the neighborhood which used to be the large field behind my house. O Field, My Field indeed.

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