"While music and the visual arts appeal to different senses, Natasha D'Schommer's photographs in To Music are a synaesthetic delight—that is, they please the eyes with impressions of sound. Her images of instruments, scores, and correspondence by the likes of Sibelius, Beethoven, Clara Schumann, and Puccini convey the delight and desire of music, the pleasures found by composers and craftsmen. To Music resonates with the expressive products of their hands, seen and transcribed into evocative photographs by a virtuoso in her own medium. The Schubert Club's remarkable collection is eloquently voiced in D'Schommer's work."
—George Slade, re:photographica, curator and photography historian, Minneapolis
When the renovation and expansion of The Schubert Club Museum was undertaken in 2009, the board and staff were eager to take advantage of the high quality in design and production that is available in the museum world today. They put together a "dream team" from Xibitz and EDG (Exhibits Development Group) whose design included wall-sized images of museum objects in many of the galleries. What exactly those images might be was suggested by the appearance of Biblio, a book of photographs by Minneapolis-based photographer Natasha D'Schommer. Biblio, published in 2008, is an extended photo-essay of rare books and manuscripts in the Scheide Library at Princeton University. The artful images, highlighting the physical beauty in the details of the objects—paper, ink, bindings, decoration, worn edges — immediately suggested that D'Schommer might find a similar affinity with artifacts from The Schubert Club Museum.
D'Schommer had this to say about the genesis of Biblio:
The story of these photographs begins the day I visited the Scheide Library to photograph the Shakespeare First Folio for my professor in England. I was struck by the quality of light in the room and curious about the work in front of me. I thought this was the only book I was going to photograph, that this was going to be my only day in the Scheide Library, and so I was willing to break a rule. When I thought no one was looking, I picked up the First Folio and smelled it. It smelled exactly the way I hoped it would smell, a cross between rosemary and cobblestones and cold rain. It was
perfect. Bill Scheide was across the room. He saw me and yelped at what I was doing. I thought I had worn out my welcome, but instead I heard him call, She smells books! She can stay as long as she likes. I worked on photographing the library for over ten years. I have approached the book as though it were a landscape, looking closely at the color
and texture of the page. This view has offered me a sense of nearness to the moments and places in which these books were created. Photographs do what the heart can do selfishly, meticulously they hold onto time.
View slideshow of selected photographs from the book
D'Schommer indeed seemed like the perfect person to tackle The Schubert Club Museum project, and the happy result is seen in the
mural-sized photographs throughout the galleries. The only difficulty was having to choose so few from among the scores of wonderful images she offered. "There ought to be another book," was everyone's sentiment, echoed by Judith Scheide when she visited the Museum in 2010. Now, thanks to her and her husband Bill's generosity, a new book of D'Schommer's photographs, To Music, will appear this autumn. In a selection of her intimate, evocative photographs of manuscripts and musical instruments in The Schubert Club Museum, D'Schommer opens the viewer's eyes to the visual beauty of physical objects that surround the art of music. But she has presented the
editors with a difficulty this summer by creating even more beautiful photographs. How can we leave any out of the book? Making the final selection is a tough job!
Natasha D'Schommer is a photographer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she concentrates on still life,
landscape and portraiture. She opened her studio in 1998 after six years as a freelance photojournalist.
She earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from New England College in West Sussex, England. She is a 2005 recipient of the McKnight Photography Fellowship and a recipient of a Jerome