Cincinnati photographer Matthew Zory spent 16 months and hundreds of hours documenting the recent Cincinnati Music Hall renovation. He took more than 10,000 photographs and created a book called Through the Lens, which he will be selling in person at 2017 Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart on December 3rd!
Through the Lens: The Remaking of Cincinnati’s Music Hall isn’t a history book. It’s a picture book and, like all picture books, it tells a story. It’s a story about a beautiful old building and what happened after the musicians, singers and dancers left: when the principal player onstage was the hall itself. This is Music Hall’s story, the way Matthew Zory heard and saw it.
Tell us about Matthew Zory Photography.
I am the assistant principal bass with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and have played here since 1993. I’ve been a professional musician for 40 years but my life as a photographer didn’t begin until 2010. I’ve always spent time in art museums and have been attracted to the work of photographers in addition to painters. It wasn’t until I was trying to work through the grief of having lost my brother that I picked up the camera as a means of distraction, not really of creation.
In many ways it seems I’ve backed into life as opposed to walking through the door head held high with a mission. When I was a child we were landing people on the moon—-that’s what I wanted to do. But, it was a music teacher that took me under his wing and encouraged me—-not a science teacher. I didn’t choose the bass—-it’s what was available in school. This book I’ve got is kind of like that too. I was daydreaming about how the light might be really interesting in Music Hall as a construction zone, asked permission to get access and 16 months later I had 15,000 pictures. I thought I’d spend a day or two and have a couple of personal pictures.
The Other Side of Music Hall was a 3 year journey and exploration (and self published book) of the blocks surrounding Music Hall. It came out of a painful awareness that my place of work—Music Hall—was an island and in no way reflected what was going on right outside it’s doors.
I find thinking about the next picture project to be torture. I’m trying to find what’s personal and important to me…I’ll get back to you when I nail that all down. My photography work definitely reflects my community, my travels and how that affects me—-that I can say for sure. And perhaps there lies the reason to support local artists. We are out turning over every stone to find reflections of our community (and others) in places you’d never think to look.
The beautiful and unexpected gift that photography has given me is connections. I’d like to say it’s visual poetic connections but I’m still working on that. It is however connections to people—-fellow photogs, subjects, customers and clients. It’s all been enriching.
Meet Matthew Zory Photography at our Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart!