Nikolaj Lund is trying to change the face of classical music one photograph at a time. Lund's portraits of classical musicians display the lesser-shown, quirkier side of the stereotypically conservative genre. His photography trades in the stoic, drama-driven image of a pianist for a wild one of a cellist thrusting his instrument into a sand dune.
"Music is something you hear, feel and respond to. For me it can calm me down and at the same time wake a lot of energy and inspiration in me," the Denmark-based artist said. "So the combination of aesthetic shades and raw energy is what I often try to show in my photos."
A classically trained musician-turned-photographer, Lund said his background helps in capturing the personalities of the artists. His Masters degree in cello allowed him to experience the too-strict perceptions of the genre.
"As a classical musician myself I had grown very tired of [the conservative and traditional] perception on classical music," he said. "Every time I saw publicity on classical music, I saw the same type of photos which, in my opinion, keeps people who do not already know about classical music away from the concerts. Classical music is so much more than what those photos told."
His photography exposes a wilder and quirkier side to classical music. His work often suspends realism, like in the portrait of cellist Toke Moeldrup. The image shows a grinning Moeldrup dressed in a full tuxedo, holding a cello and a bow, and jumping backwards into the ocean.
Lund say he tries to keep photo manipulation to a minimum, though. Even Moeldrup's portrait is 100 percent real (yes, he did jump into water with a cello). To create these photos, he finds instruments that cost less than $200 to use in the shoot.
"I also get better reactions from the musicians during the session by doing it for real, instead of dropping them in front of a blue screen and adding the background later," he said. "And, it is a lot more fun."
Go to Nikolaj Lund's website to view more of his work.
Click through below to view Nikolaj Lund's portraits of classical musicians: