For over four decades, Joseph Schembri has been on a captivating journey, one that’s been deeply intertwined with his two greatest passions: music and photography. In a candid conversation with Joe, we got a glimpse into his remarkable career, his profound love for music, and how he translates the rhythm of life into stunning visual art.
Joe’s story begins with a profound connection to music, a love affair that has spanned decades and shaped his creative path. “Everything I do is about music,” he confesses. With a wide grin, he recalls his New York childhood, where salsa rhythms took hold of his heart in the swinging 60s. “It went from rock and roll to salsa for me,” he says.
“Music evokes a lot of emotions,” Joe explains. “I could be sitting in a joint, and they could play something, and it could bring tears to my eyes.” Music, for Joe, has the power to transport him through time, awakening memories and emotions.
At his home, a Yamaha Disklavier piano stands as a testament to his passion. “I never played,” he chuckles, “but I was a piano tuner at one time.” Joe describes how he sometimes puts the piano on, and the magic of the Disklavier mesmerizes him, playing with all the nuances that make music come alive.
Joe’s love for music often takes him to unique places, like Bowman’s Tavern on a Friday night. He describes a musician whose style carries him back to the era of Humphrey Bogart movies. “Music transports you somewhere,” Joe muses, “and you don’t always know where that somewhere is”.
This deep connection with music seamlessly integrates into his photography. “I have specific guidelines about how I want to photograph,” he explains. With the wisdom of experience, he adds, “When you’re around musicians long enough, you can see it. Certain ones, you just know when they’ve captured something important. It’s all about the nuances.” Joe seeks out these
expressions, not just on the face but also in the language of the body. “The longer you do it, the better you get at recognizing what you really like.”
Joseph Schembri’s story is one of passion and an unwavering love for music and the art of photography. Read the full article in Issue 03 of the Arete Way Magazine.