ItalianBrother – ‘The Pianist’ – By Dilshad Corleone


We have just published Dilshad Corleone’s latest article to his column, ItalianBrother. This week Dilshad talks us through his intrepid photographic journey from London to Derby, a path I also took a few days before (and will be writing about shortly). Dilshad’s article is full of the sensory stimulations he received throughout the day and will definitely inspire you to take your own photographic journey. Don’t miss this, over to you Dilshad. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).



“It’s Easter Sunday, early in the morning. The omens seem to be in my favor: it’s a beautifully cold and sunny day, one of those days that I have long waited. Just a few single clouds in the sky and from my train’s window I can see the English countryside, open and wide, in all its enchanting beauty. I’m off to Derby, with great expectations! Misho’s iPhoneography workshop promises to be a wonderful day out of London, full of creative inspiration and some good photo opportunities too. Also, let us not forget the Format 13’s Chocolate Factory EyeEm exhibition, and the five thousand images featured there; my journey should be worthwhile only because of this!




© Dilshad Corleone


I am not a great train traveller I have to admit, all the contrary, actually. So, until the very last minute this morning before leaving my home, I was trying to find a feasible excuse so that I could just have a comfortable long lie-in bed. I woke up around five in the morning, and the first thing I told myself: “it’s way too dark, definitely cloudy and lots of rain!” Looked outside and nope, just a beautiful dark clear blue sky. Then I thought that there would be no transportation from my house to the train station, which was somehow true: during Easter Sunday weekend, my tube station is closed for engineering works. Funnily enough, this made it even easier, for there was a rail replacement bus direct to where I needed to go. The old-school-days’ excuse of a good stomach-ache seemed a little-bit too lame for a grown up… Hence, I didn’t even try to go down that route. By this time it was already six o’clock, and I seriously needed to get out of bed and start getting ready for my journey! Strangely, however, a sense of excitement and anticipation was creeping in me and I was actually looking forward to start my day.

Richard Gray, bless him, had heard already all my ranting and feeble excuses the day before. At one point I remember telling him: “there is actually nothing beyond the M25! Utter wilderness and barren lands, where no human kind have ever dared to go, Good God, I hate train journeys!” Only to hear back, from the other side of the phone, a mere, diplomatic dismissive laughter. I would actually pay gold just to know what he thought of me at that time! Richard, if you are reading this, thank you ever so much for being such a good-mannered English gentlemen!

The weather had now changed, together with the scenery too. Where before I saw open farmland, kissed by the morning sun-rays, horses and cows pasturing, now I could only find grey tones of the factories and chimneys, Leicester’s blandness was accompanied by a sky full of thick clouds. But I didn’t want this to bring my excitement down; I could still feel the inspiration, and I wanted to hang on to that quite dearly! I am also running to fast in telling my story. So, let’s slow it down a tad and let us go back a bit.


© Dilshad Corleone

As, rightly, predicted by my London Tube and Bus app, I reached King’s Cross St. Pancras station way ahead of schedule, leaving me enough time for breakfast and to have a look around this quite impressive station. I am like kid in a candy store and I do get easily excited! Little did I know that my excitement was only to grow, as I heard from far away the dreamy and romantic yet melancholic sound of a piano playing Ravel. I never would have thought to find someone playing such beautiful music in a train station. There was passion, it was played from the heart and I completely lost myself in this music!


© Dilshad Corleone

Time flew and luckily I remembered that I wasn’t there for the music (although I really could have stayed there all day long listening to him), but everyone has their own journey to take, while his was there to inspire people with his music, my journey was to get on a train and head off to Derby.

During the entire journey, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about the pianist and his music! What struck me most was his commitment to wake up so early, in the cold, and come to play! He truly did play with his heart and soul! Music inspired him, and he inspired everyone around him with music! Isn’t this what we do with photography? Or we try to do? I asked myself! He doesn’t care if it’s raining or snowing or the trains aren’t working, Christmas or Easter, a Monday or a Sunday! He wants to be there first thing in the morning, to play! Not for the money, for he did not ask any, nor he had a hat or a sign with a request, he did it for the mere pleasure.


© Dilshad Corleone

A few weeks ago I wrote here about inspiration and I remember quoting Kevin Kuster’s suggestion: “Inspiration and good subjects to photograph are always around us, we just need to have the courage to find them and the ability to create something interesting out of the ordinary. My advice for you today is to find something that you see as ordinary and mundane and make it EXTRAordinary!” These, truly, are powerful words! And I always went back to his article each time I felt down, and in a slump. And yet, not always I managed to come out from that slump, why? And why is it that the pianist, whatever hardship he faced, he would still get up and go to the station to play? I remember, blaming it to the weather and the lack of light during the hard English winter, and yet the snow had provided me some really good opportunities. This was nothing but a mere excuse, and this also meant that I had not really grasped the intrinsic meaning of what Kevin recommend all of us, and me in particular in his article: to get my arse in gear! To stop making excuses and to go out, regardless of what the weather was or my mood, and to really look for that ordinary thing, and find in there something extraordinary!


© Dilshad Corleone

St. Pancras station was full of these little something extraordinary moments: the pianist alone had already made my day, but then there were the old couple staring at the huge timetable board, this was just the start of their journey, where were they going? The gentlemen sitting opposite me in the train, so many opportunities, yes, one needs only to look!


© Dilshad Corleone

I dwelled on all these things that I had just witnessed and everything made sense now! The music of the pianist continued playing in my head and I could still see him absorbed in his music with his eyes closed, he played, for he loved his music! I will not stop, I thought! For I love photography! No matter what! And while these thoughts were going on in my head, from far away I heard a voice saying: “… The next station is Derby” I suddenly woke up from my daydreaming, I had arrived and I was ready for my new adventure! (To be continued…).


© Dilshad Corleone

8 thoughts on “ItalianBrother – ‘The Pianist’ – By Dilshad Corleone”

  1. Enjoyed the read Dilshad! OK, now I have no excuses that the suburbs are a boring place to shoot – I have to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary!

    • Oh Yes!!!! just do it, as the Nike boys are used to say! don’t let anything on the way, go out and shoot! and shoot with you heart! that the best thing i can ever say!
      thanks Sis!

  2. Pushing through the “lack of passion” helped you to create a few great images! Love the color piano image (I think heard the keys play as I finished the article) and the couple waiting for the train! Excellent journey!

    • Absolutely yes! it’s not easy, but we have to do it! and you Kevin have been one important person in my journey!! thank you so much!

  3. I really loved this essay – the best I had read on here. I could relate. And I liked that the images were not re created – not apped into some other world. Don’t get me wrong, I like the digital collages and “art” that is created by many. This work seemed accessible in an emotional way that was captured in a photo journalistic manner. Probably my bias, but it was nice to see it put to work in what was captured here. Kudos.


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