2nd place
Romain Thiery / France
Title : Requiem pour pianos
Entry Description

What remains of their finery? Blown away marbles, torn open fireplaces, torn down drapes… In front of Romain Thiery’s lens, these great houses have lost their superb. Yet, carpeted in the shadows, astonishing monsters of wood and cast iron with lacquered skin display their toothless smile with ivory reflections. The only witnesses of the past luster, these pianos are the soul of the place, objects too heavy to be moved, which the photographer relentlessly hunts down throughout Europe. The realization of his “Requiem for pianos” series owes nothing to chance. It offers Romain Thiery the privilege of combining his two passions, image and music. His relentlessness eventually pays off. Since 2014, he has discovered more than a hundred pianos in as many beautiful places. Scenes that he never changes, leaving the place as it is. His routine is now well established. He slips into these ballrooms, mansions, manor houses or castles while it is still dark, to capture the morning light. Then he at least tries to play on the keyboards, to make those Steinway, Pleyel, Bechstein or Chapka & Son lying in varying states of disrepair vibrate one last time. Romain then notes the serial number of the piano, when it exists. For he has put his unique expertise at the service of the association Musique & Spoliations, whose mission is to find the instruments spoliated by Sonderstab Music, the “Commando Musique”, created in August 1940 in France by the Nazi regime. The precious information collected is transmitted to the association, which cross-references it with its archives to try to reconstruct the history of the instrument. An often unknown subject that he wishes to make known through an artistic dimension.

Shuchuan Liu / China

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