Artist brings unique display to Piccolo Spoleto crowd

(Josh Benser/WCIV)


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Piccolo Spoleto is in full swing in the Holy City. The event attracts artists from all over the country, including New York-based photographer Michael Weintrob.

While not an official part of the annual festival, Weintrob is featuring his InstrumentHead project at a coffee shop on King Street.

He photographed over 350 musicians for this project but visitors won't see their faces. Instead, the focus is on their instrument of choice, blurring the lines between each individual and the tools of their trade.

"It's not the most intellectual process that I'm doing here. I'm just trying to tell stories," he said.

Weintrob admits his idea is a bit outside the box and that he's guilty of taking the musicians out of their comfort zone for the photo shoot.

"Most people come in and they don't really know what's going on and they're really nervous," Weintrob said. "But by the time its all over they're leaving with a smile on their face because we are just having fun."

Weintrob says he wanted to mask each musician's face, cover their eyes, and still show who they are.

"They're able to find their voice through their instrument. If they didn't practice on this instrument for so long and so hard and master it, they wouldn't be where they are because they're musicians not models," he said. "The instruments really are an extension of themselves."

There are clues in each photo -- aside from the instruments -- that give viewers a hint into the life of the musicians. Each photo is a snapshot into their personality.

"He's known for playing this white guitar and for having the cowboy hat. You can see his tattoos and his really blonde hair, so if you know who Johnny Winter was you'd know who this photo is," Weintrob said.

Focusing on renowned and emerging musicians, Weintrob admits he has a wishlist of who he'd like to include in the showing, but says that would just be icing on the cake.

"I'm not worried about who it is that I don;t have. I'm thankful for who I do have," he said.

The InstrumentHead Project will be on display at King Dusko on King Street through June 8.