Photographers at Voxman

An open letter to all photographers at West High

Meleah Chang

Meleah Chang

Meleah Chang

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You’re sitting in math focusing on your test, frantically searching your mind for the formula. Out of nowhere- “shrrieeekkk!!” What was that inhuman sound? Are those eighth graders? Why are they here? Unaware of the time, the bell rings and you have to hand in your test. Unfinished.

You’re playing a concerto memorized in a masterclass with an exchange professor. Your fingers glide across the strings, and all of a sudden “Thump!” What was that? You can see through the opened door, a small group of teenagers, “Don’t they go to my school?” you ask yourself, “They don’t even play an instrument. Why are they here?” Next thing you know, you lost your focus and you don’t know what part of the piece you’re at.

In both of these instances, another group of people are somewhere they shouldn’t be. In both scenarios, people are distractions while another person is trying to be productive.

Voxman is a place built for those interested in pursuing music, as well as to encourage the public to listen to concerts the university’s students and professors provide. If I’m at a strings workshop, the last thing I want to see is your group of friends trespassing on a music sanctuary. Why are you here?

Do you like the vast amount of natural light? The new, modern design of the building? Yeah, me too. However, the building wasn’t meant to be a backdrop to all your photoshoots. It’s not a place to be waltzing around just for fun because you want to get better pictures for Instagram. When you do this, you’re publicizing Voxman as a place to take great pictures. You’re inviting whomever might encounter your pictures to come themselves with their friends and take pictures. It’s not an area to take fake candids. It’s a place specifically designated to study, listen and create music. When you come to take pictures, you’re intruding on the 450 music undergraduate and graduate students and 60 faculty who do not want you there. You might not even be in their way, but you’re in their space.

However, you don’t even have to make a sound to be a distraction. If a student is numbering measures or listening to music and marking their score, your presence is enough to be distracting.

Now, I understand if you’re at Voxman for a workshop or concert, by all means take some photos.  If you really want natural light, go outside. The weather is warming up as we progress into spring and summer and downtown Iowa City has some great spots for pictures.

If you really have to take these pictures, go to Hancher on weekdays when people aren’t working.

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