Machynlleth Festival in focus in top photographer’s exhibition

Bengt Forsberg reading a score, an image from the exhibition by Sim Canetty-Clarke.

An exhibition of photographs taken by professional photographer Sim Canetty-Clarke of Machynlleth Festival performers last year has opened at the Museum of Modern Art Wales in the ancient Welsh capital.


Running until September 3, the exhibition, themed Sight Reading, coincides with this year’s Machynlleth Festival, which runs from August 23-30 and brings international performers to Y Tabernacl in the town.

Full festival details can be found on

In his introduction to the exhibition, BBC broadcaster Christopher Cook says: “One of Sim Canetty-Clarke’s best-developed instincts as a photographer is to know where she needs to be: Bengt Forsberg crouched below the piano reading a score and James Turnbull framed within a frame, isolated as he plays that orchestral outsider, the oboe, for example.

“Two of the pictures of the Heath Quartet in this exhibition also remind us that this is a photographer who is a musician – a cellist and a singer.

“In her mind’s eye, with the possible exception of the piano, there is no clearly delineated frontier between performers and their instruments. So the leader of the Heath Quartet’s violin seems to belong to his body, like a branch on a tree, while even at rest in her lap the second violinist’s instrument and bow seem joined to her. ”

After working as an assistant to photographers in portrait, fashion and still life, Canetty-Clarke, who has a BA in photography, film and TV, has been a professional photographer ever since, apart for a year’s stint as The Duchess of York’s PA.

Growing up in a musical family and playing the cello herself, she combines her love of music with her career in photography and spends her time working alongside many of today’s leading musicians – conductors, soloists and orchestras – and opera houses.

Recent commissions include being an official photographer for the 2012 London Olympics and a tw-year project documenting baritone Gerald Finley in five different productions of Don Giovanni at some of the world’s greatest opera houses.

Her client list includes EMI, Hyperion and Chandos record labels as well BBC Proms and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.