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In ‘Architecture in Music,’ Striking Photos Reveal the Hidden Structures of Instruments


Steinway Model D Grand Piano

Auckland-based photographer Charles Brooks, a cellist since childhood, has spent two decades performing with orchestras around the world, 
and the experience has left her curious about the inner workings of the instruments that surround her.

This interest culminates in Brooks' ongoing Architecture in Music series, which looks inside to reveal the hidden anatomy of pianos, 
winds, wind instruments, and strings. Surrounded by structural and often repetitive elements, composite images frame the shadows cast 
by the F-holes of a cello, the seemingly endless steps of a flute's sound chamber, and the hammers of a piano; they all look more like 
buildings or public infrastructure than musicals. components.
In order to preserve each instrument while photographing, Brooks used a probe lens with a “minimum aperture of just f/14, 
which means you need a tremendous amount of light. It also has a very shallow depth of field at that aperture, 
less than a centimeter when you’re focusing close to the lens.” Each foray into an instruments’ body revealed a similarity 
between brands—the Steinway and Fazioli grand pianos were nearly identical—and many contained markings and residue from repairs 
that dated back centuries. “Some instruments really surprised me,” he shares. “I’d never thought to look inside a Didgeridoo 
before and was astonished to find out that it was carved by termites, rather than by hand!”

Prints of Architecture in Music are available in Brooks’s shop, and you can find much more of his work on Instagram. (via swissmiss)


Steinway Model D Grand Piano

1780 Lockey Hill Cello. All images © Charles Brooks, shared with permission

Steinway Model D Grand Piano

Didgeridoo by Trevor Gillespie Peckham (Bungerroo) Australia

2021 Selmer Saxophone

14K Gold Flute

Fazioli Grand Piano


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