CUJO – A Blast from the Past

Yesterday I went and photographed Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra at the Queen’s Building in Emmanuel College. Chris McMurran had organised a concert where both the current CUJO orchestra and an alumni band were playing. I have previously photographed CUJO, you can see a few of the photos at the end of this previous post.

The concert hall was quite dark without the stage lights on, so I asked if some of the window curtains could be pulled to get a bit more light. Here Pete Teverson on saxophone.
Vij Pakash directing the band from the audience seats, there are other photos where he is more animated, but I like the repetition of the benches in this photo.
David Robinson treating the orchestra to an air guitar solo in between songs. I like to capture little things like this, that adds character to the people.

When photographing events and other things it is sometimes good to step back and try to  capture a bit of the context. To make it complete I probably should have included a shot of Emmanuel College itself from the outside.

I wanted to get an overview shot from the back. The girl on the right took out her mobile phone to snap a shot, so I took a shot of her, giving me something interesting in the foreground which then leads the viewer into the picture.
A shot of almost the entire band, since they were so small in the previous photo.
The alumni band was having a good time!
Catherine Harrison was the CUJO alumni singer for the evening. By sitting in the front row I was able to isolate her from the rest of the orchestra and get a clean backdrop.


Trombone solo by Tom Green. Vij’s face makes the photo.

I took a photo at a previous concert with the hands of the pianist reflected in the black polished wood. This time I wanted to one-up that. My first try was to get lower to see both the keyboard and the head. The alumni orchestra looked a bit surprised when I lay down on the floor to get the right angle (you can’t really do that at the concert, so yes, this was during the rehearsal). That angle worked, but the picture did not manifest itself. Instead I tried to get the reflection in the note stand, first from the right but then the loud speaker behind was in the photo, by switching to the left side I got rid of that problem.


One great benefit of getting to know the people is that you get better access. I was standing next to Chris while he played, but the shot was not coming together, so I asked him to turn his music pages, and then I got this shot. The reflection was very dark, but all the information was there in the RAW file, so only needed to adjust the curves to get this picture.

That’s it for tonight. It was a fun concert with lots of improvisation solos. On the way back I passed Trinity and got a sneak peak at the Singing on the River, which may or may not be the topic of a future blog post.

– Johannes

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