Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Tuner's Life 1

There are times when the work is not always about pianos but piano-related. Sometimes I get the call for unique or unusual projects.

A couple of seasons back I got a call about a photo shoot being done here. This is the type of photo shoot called “photo murals.”


Although there have been experiments with photo murals since the beginning of photography, the type of work that I am referring to is called “large-scale, theory-referenced, and carefully staged photos”. This type of art was pioneered by artists around the world in the 1970s and is continued today by Vancouver artists such as Stan Douglas, Jin-me Yoon, and Rodney Graham.

So I got a call from Rodney Graham’s assistant; they required an old player piano to be used as a prop. Further they needed a technician on site for the entire day to rewind the player rolls and set the instrument for the next take of shots. These shots were taken by what is called a 14 X 11 camera, equipped with 26 strobes that went off as the shot was taken. These shots were then blown up to 16 ft. panels and were installed on a billboard of the L.A. freeway for some type of advertising.

Sixteen takes and 10 hours later we were done.

The theme is this:

There is a piano in an old saloon. Playing the piano is a cowboy. Sitting on top of the piano is another cowboy who is shooting at the feet of a preacher making him dance. The preacher is played by Rodney Graham.
Here is a link to some shots of the set and the actors involved in the shoot. Enjoy!


  1. Hi Dan,

    Great post - loved the pictures.
    How cool to be hanging around 'cowboys' - even if they are city boys in disguise.

    I like the history you presented about the shoot too - very interesting.

    Keep the posts coming...I'll be back.

  2. Hey Jenny,
    Thanks for the comments. Some of the film and photo work can be a nice break from the usual piano work. I have some other ones about special projects that I have done locally in the past. As I find the files I will post them. Glad to have you reading and enjoying the stories.