Brain Pickings

Andrew Zuckerman’s Powerful Portraits of Music Icons


What the power of curiosity has to do with the most universal human language.

We’re longtime fans of photographer Andrew Zuckerman. Last year, he brought us Wisdom — an absolutely beautiful, both aesthetically and conceptually, book and film capturing profound existential insights by 50 of our time’s greatest writers, artists, philosophers, politicians, designers, activists, musicians, religious and business leaders over the age of 65. This year, we’ve been anxiously awaiting his latest project and it has finally arrived: Music — a fascinating journey into the souls of 50 of today’s greatest living music icons.

The book, a breathtaking hardcover beauty, features portraits of the 50 musicians — including Yoko Ono, Common, David Crosby, Ani DiFranco, Ben Gibbard, Philip Glass, Herbie Hancock, Karen O, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz and Iggy Pop — photographed in Zuckerberman’s signature style of intimate closeups on crisp white background, alongside interviews that reveal everything from their creative process to intimate insight into their relationship with music and the world.

My curiosity, I think, is the thing that drives everything.” ~ Herbie Hancock

Of all the languages that human beings use to communicate with each other, [music] is the language which is the most eloquent and the most universal.” ~ Philip Glass

Each copy of the book comes with a unique code for downloading the companion film, which features beautifully shot, deeply moving interviews with the 50 music icons:

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music. And I will never have enough time to know what I want to know and to be able to contribute what I possibly could. So, I keep working at it.” ~ John Williams

The project even comes as an iPad app, for a touch of smart transmedia storytelling.

Zuckerman recently spoke at the excellent Creative Mornings series by Swiss Miss. Keep an eye out on their Vimeo channel, where his talk — a guaranteed blockbuster — should appear shortly.

The impressive behind-the-scenes footage demonstrates just how much work, thought and creativity went into the project:

Zuckerman’s work remains a Brain Pickings favorite and Music is among the best books you could give, get and indulge in this holiday season. Do.

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