Back to Taipei, back to my life and my project. I saw Raymond at his studio. He wanted to show me the pictures he had selected for his book, now entitled Halfway toward the Sound. It is not yet out that he's already considering a second book! For this one, each musician will get about ten to eleven pages. Portraits but also objects he feels distinctively represent them - a fancy pair of shoes and a record player as far as I'm concerned... why the shoes? But that's what Raymond wanted.
The pictures of the other musicians are great for most of them. Dynamic, always inventive, lively and classy. Some are less interesting to me, more so because I do not really connect to the subject: a girl walking the field with her guitar in all her cute glory and pastel tones, an image that has been used and re-used for more than one CD covers. Another one is of this black singer I often see busking in popular spots of Taipei. The pictures make him look very good indeed, but again, the impression of déjà vu creates a reverse effect, especially because he channels images of all these famous jazz / blues singers and ape their poses: eyes soulfully closed, mouth wide open as a hint that he's vocally well endowed (why not play the cliché), head up to the sky, as if receiving the inspiration of the Lord almighty...
"That singer wanted the Bible to appear in the pictures." Raymond told me. Of course, the Bible... "He also gave me his CD and I played it to my teenage son.""And...?" I was curious to hear the answer.
"He didn't like it". I couldn't contradict the verdict. Each time I would hear that singer on the street, his nasal, piercing and often off-key voice would prompt me to suddenly walk faster and bring to my mind the vision of a strangled duck. It's a mystery why Raymond picked him...On the other hand, I loved the pictures of that young teenage cello player, and nearly gasped when I saw that one shot of her crossing the street on her skateboard while carelessly holding her instrument with one arm!!! Raymond likes to show the musicians with a different connection to their instrument. Pianists are rarely been shot sitting at the piano, rather on it, under it or far from it, one beautiful, long haired female contrabass player was shot playing in the middle of the street, a crazy drummer with a pink wig and his pink drum set had his pictures taken on a red bridge!