The Hand That Yields The Instrument

There is nothing more beautiful than a perfected craft, that laborious yielding and mending of purpose and passion with one’s own hands.


Christopher Payne shows us exactly that with his collection Making Steinway: An American Workplace. The poetry between the hand, the machine, and the purpose is perhaps most evident in this collection, with his photos tracing the artistry involved from wood to the grand piano.

He recounts,

After spending countless hours photographing the choreographies of production and scrutinizing the parts and pieces that will never be visible outside the factory, I came to realize that a piano is one of the supreme acts of human invention and imagination.

Steinway & Sons have been creating pianos since 1853, developing and passing on their craft from master to apprentice for many generations.

With each piano composed of more than 12,000 individual parts, it takes almost 12 months to create one piano. A short time considering the level of craftsmanship that resonates in the instrument’s physical beauty; its sound a poetic ode to the labor and artistry involved.


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