Edu Hawkins writes about his upcoming exhibition at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill from the 12th-18th November:
This Sonny Rollins picture was taken at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It is included in my New Orleans to Notting Hill exhibition.
Rollins gave an engaging public interview the day before his gig, in which he talked about his life and experiences. He was incredibly modest about his achievements. At one point he was asked about meeting John Coltrane, “[he] made me want to go up on the bridge and practise. That’s what I thought about him.” After his interview, we met backstage and I got a few pictures of him. He was very pleasant, almost shy.
The next day the 80-year-old Rollins shuffled on stage to close the festival in the jazz tent. For the first 5-10 minutes of the set, Rollins played largely to his band, with his back to the audience, and seemed to be struggling to get out of first gear. Rollins had said in his interview that he “always [tried] to get that extra feeling from being [in New Orleans]”, and before long he appeared to have found that ‘extra feeling’. By the end of the set, he strode around the front of the stage wielding his saxophone and pumping his fists. It was remarkable to have seen such a dramatic transformation from the unassuming man I had met the day before, and this was unquestionably one the most inspired performances I have seen.
Having always been fascinated by music and imagery, music photography seemed to be the perfect combination of these two things. I would say I found photography as a vehicle to express something I have a feeling for, as well as a means of documenting, rather than simply a tool to record a range of subjects through photography.
After leaving university I worked with David Redfern at his picture library. I believed (and still do) that there isn’t anything to be learned about music pictures that you couldn’t learn from David. Over time he has become a mentor and a good friend.
Jazz is well suited to photography because it is an expressive form of music, characterized by spontaneity, directness and integrity, all of which transfer directly to photography. With these pictures – using a unique process of gilding photographs, devised by Foale and Sons- the hope is that there is a sense of sound and atmosphere in the image.