Escaping to a transcendental place
September 4, 2014

Have you ever attended a concert and caught that moment when the musician loses him or herself—closing their eyes and seemingly oblivious to anything but the music they’re making? When that happens, where exactly o they go?

Photographer Chris Geworsky, himself a musician, wondered too. And so he started asking musicians he knew—and taking their portraits—to express that special, transcendental place they go to in their heads. Seven years later, the results are captured in a special exhibition of photographs, State of Mine, which will go on display from September 13 to 15th in NSCAD’s Academy Building. The exhibition will coincide with the making-of documentary, which debuts at the Atlantic Film Festival on September 13.

“Regardless of genre or level of expertise or what they use music for, musicians go to a place to lose themselves in music; and as universal as this is, each place is individually different,” says Geworsky, 34, who embarked on the project four years ago. A commercial photographer in Halifax, Geworsky threw himself into the art project, the chance to express himself on his own terms.

For Asif Illyas, a Halifax singer, songwriter and composer, that place was akin to being in a plane taking off. For violinist Jackie Nguyen that place was on her bicycle with the city whizzing by, “a feeling of reality not being able to touch you.” For Adam Bowes of the hardcore punk act The Crimson Tides, that place is described as “swirling blackness.”

For their portraits, Geworsky brings each of the musicians to that special place; for example, his own mother, concert pianist Gredi Patrick is photographed with her piano floating in a sky full of stars. Twenty musicians are captured in the exhibition and eight of those in the documentary.

“As I started, I realized what a powerful place this was that people escaped to, and I wanted to incorporate some of these very interesting conversations I was having,” explains Geworsky. “I ran into Jennifer (Hogg) and she thought it was something she’d like to take it on. And that’s how the documentary came to be.”

The exhibition includes Geworsky’s own portrait, which he directed from the other side of the lens while his friend Andrew Chow snapped away. And where did he go in his mind while the shot was taken, a stark portrait spot-lit in the dark? “That’s me with my electric guitar, surrounded by darkness, and jamming with my brother Paul.”


State of Mine, a film by Jennifer Hogg documenting photographer Chris Geworsky’s portrait project, will screen during the Atlantic Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 13, 12 noon at Park Lane (Theatre 7).

The film and the exhibition of photographs will show at NSCAD’s Academy Building, 1649 Brunswick Street, on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2 to 5 p.m, and Sunday, Sept. 14, 1 to 5 p.m. The film will screen in the auditorium, while the exhibition will be on display in the third-floor studio.

Chris Geworsky and some of the musicians captured in his photographs will present a special talk about the exhibition. It takes place Monday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Academy Building. All are welcome and it’s free.