Nat Geo Assignment: Sights and Sounds

Nat Geo Assignment: Sights and Sounds - Kristian Bertel
Drum girl in Mumbai, India submitted to ‘Sights and Sounds’ on National Geographic.


See the National Geographic photo assignments that Kristian Bertel has participated in – Read the story about his photographs here…

Kristian Bertel has contributed to the National Geographic Your Shot community with an assignment called ‘Sights and Sounds‘. For this assignment curated by Matt Adams an assistant photo editor at National Geographic he wants us to photograph and document the music that is happening around us. When Matt was thinking of his next assignment to run on Your Shot, he kept thinking about two passions that he has in his life, music and photography.

His memories of those days are still very vibrant photographing live bands: The ringing of the amps after a song has been played, the sweat from fans packed together into a small room and the high-energy performances are all memories still etched into his brain. National Geographic will be looking for those same feelings in our images.


”Music can sometimes be filled with decisive moments and we may have to act quickly to get the shot, but watch out for cluttered and distracting backgrounds. Focus is important here, while it’s okay to have some blur with the movement of a guitar or hand strumming, too much might be get a photo knocked out early during editing”


Music in photography
As Matt is saying it: ”- Music has been a constant in my life, although I have no musical abilities. I can’t read musical notes, nor do I know how to play any instrument. But still, I love music, and it started with my parents. Their love of music was passed on to me, and I’ve grown this passion by discovering my own favorite musicians and records. Years later, I combined my love of music with a new passion: photography. I started to photograph live concerts and take portraits of musicians. These moments are special ones to document, they tell stories or capture feelings that may be difficult to express verbally. Your assignment is to capture images of music. Feel free to even go beyond someone performing. Maybe you see someone moved by music and dancing, or perhaps someone singing along in the front row of a show. And remember, just as some music and photos can be loud, quiet moments can also speak volumes. Maybe it’s someone tuning an instrument, or a mother singing a lullaby to a child, as it gets ready for nap”, he says.

About the submitted photograph
The photographer chose to submit a photograph of an Indian girl playing a drum in Mumbai, India. The girl was playing on a drum in the Bora Bazar Street, which is situated near the Victoria Station in Mumbai, India. Children working in the streets is one of the major issues of Indian society and many efforts are made to keep children away from street for instance with education. Music just like the girl is playing on the drum is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound and silence.

The common elements of music are pitch which governs melody and harmony, rhythm and its associated concepts tempo, meter and articulation, dynamics loudness and softness, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture, which are sometimes termed the “color” of a musical sound. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and with vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping, and there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces such as songs without instrumental accompaniment and pieces that combine singing and instruments.

Music in many cultures
In many cultures, music is an important part of people’s way of life, as it plays a key role in religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies like graduation and marriage, social activities. Indian music, for instance, is one of the oldest and longest living types of music, and is still widely heard and performed in South Asia, as well as internationally especially since the 1960s. Indian music has mainly three forms of classical music, Hindustani, Carnatic and Dhrupad styles. It has also a large repertoire of styles, which involve only percussion music such as the talavadya performances famous in South India.

”- I was fascinated of her presence in the few seconds she passed by me with her drum. She is sadly amongst the tribal people, Dalits and labour class including farm workers in villages and casual workers in cities, that are the people who come in the category of the poorest class in India. And they are still very poor and make the poorest class in India”, Kristian Bertel says.


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Assignments and Stories — National Geographic Your Shot »
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Your Shot Photo Community — National Geographic »
Kristian Bertel’s entire gallery on Your Shot »
Showcase of Kristian Bertel’s Your Shot »
Kristian Bertel’s website »


    Tags:   #india   #travel   #portraits