French Photographer and pianist Romain Thiery accompanied his own remarkable images of abandoned pianos for his Requiem for Pianos series.
About thirty of his photographs are focused on a central object: the piano; sometimes with some of its keys missing, sometimes completely dismantled but always sitting imposingly. Impressive and incongruous, it is there. It is where, not so long ago, grace, luxury and a respected novelty used to reign.
At first, led astray by the natural aesthetics of the king of the instruments, one could have seen some kind of romanticism that could be at odds with the photographer’s powerful other works. In the latter, the picture does it job, despite the amazing work on the light: the spectator feels a sense of disquiet -despite the beautiful representation. It is obvious: what used to be no longer is.
In a mess that leads us to ask ourselves a hundred questions, a dust-covered piano is erected and its nobleness is striking, its grandeur lies deep within the basics of our culture. The art of the photographer is to show us this arrogant beauty that relegates everything else to the background.
Andrea James, writer at boingboing.net.
There is another photographer, Dutchman Roman Robroek, who also takes photographs of abandoned pianos.
Here is one of his incredible photographs:
(Picture credit, Roman Robroek in an article on the Daily mail online)
What do you see when you look at this haunting photograph? I see loneliness, not the “arrogance” that Ms. James expressed in the above. The sight of this beautiful piano left to decay, discarded and unwanted tugs at my heart strings. Maybe I’m too sentimental but looking at it I think about the hours of music it gave to people long ago. Once it must have been treasured.
Here is Roman Robroek’s website:
When I started my Urban photography journey, I mostly saw empty, abandoned and decayed buildings. It didn’t take long before curiosity struck me. What was the story behind those buildings? Who used to live there?
The artist and story teller in me shares his curiosity. I have always been fascinated with the past, especially the 18th century, Victorian and Edwardian eras, and love listening to music played on antique pianos from these eras. Inspired by all this I created a roombox entitled The Lonely Piano, which was listed in my Etsy shop.
In abandoned room in an old Edwardian era mansion a lonely old upright piano stands in the decaying room, with old music sheets piled on top of it and scattered on the floor. Photographs of three women, perhaps they were sisters, hang above the piano. A shadow casts an eerie shape on the wall- the fanciful person might imagine it’s the ghost of one of the women come back to play her beloved piano. Perhaps if you listen one night, the piano will be heard playing an old time melody….
This roombox stimulates the imagination, and the viewer can create a story behind it. Who were the sisters? What happened to them? Why is the piano left in the house all alone and forgotten? Is the house haunted by ghosts of the past?
The roombox is a thick cardboard gift box covered with vintage and 19th century book pages, painted with acrylic paints and a piece of ripped purple art paper to make torn and peeling old wallpaper.
I made the piano from 3 small cardboard boxes, glued together and pieces of cardboard, all covered with painted 19th century book pages ( brown and gold acrylic paints). I used book pages to make an interesting effect and to add a bit of narrative. Some of the text is readable. I used wooden craft shapes (painted with brown and gold acrylic paints) and art paper pieces to add decorative effects on the piano. The keys are pieces of black and cream card. The pedals are made out of gold card wallpaper samples which I coated with brown acrylic paint to make them look aged. I made candles and sconces for the piano out of used matches and book pages, painted with acrylic paints.
The piano stool is made out of a matchbox filled with foam padding and covered more painted book pages, wooden craft shapes for the legs, and the seat is made from foam padding, covered with a piece of a paisley design scarf.
More photographs of The Lonely Piano roombox can be seen on my art page in my Gallery:
I’m happy to say that The Lonely Piano went to a loving home. I am currently making a series of Piano roomboxes for my Etsy store. Some like the one below are on the theme of abandoned pianos. They will all be historic rooms and settings. Each one will be different and unique.
Here’s another miniature Piano I’ve made.
The title of this roombox is The Old Piano’s Dream.
In abandoned room in an old Victorian villa a lonely old upright piano stands in the decaying front parlour, with old music sheets, papers and books scattered on the floor around it. Its keys are damaged, it has lost its lid and it is covered with cobwebs.
A photo of a cute baby in a bonnet hangs on the wall behind the Piano and two portraits of a young couple, dating from the 1890s on the wall to the left of the Piano.
The Piano longs for times past when the young couple would play it and fill the room with its music. (Maybe they liked to play the music of Mendelssohn….)
As it dreams of the 1890s it sends musical notes rising into the air as it remembers the young couple ( seen on the wall playing it)…..
You can see more photos of The Old Piano’s Dream here in my Etsy store:
Romain Thiery made a moving tribute called Requiem pour pianos for all the abandoned pianos he had photographed:
His poignant photographs can be seen on his Instagram page: