RMAF 2018: A Critical Eye

Paul Elliott and the view of RMAF that you've never seen

Photography by Paul Elliott

I have completely bought into the music reproduction industry ever since I heard the difference between lamp cord as speaker wire and Monster brand wire oh so many years ago. Yes, I built Heathkit and Eico kits when I was a teenager in the middle 60’s, but really had no idea what was really going on.

During this time I was developing my ear for music. Big band and classical when I was alone, and rock when friends came over, as well as getting an inkling of how the music sounded different through different types of components and wire.

Through all of the life changes young people go through, I became a professional photographer, while still listening and loving music.  Music is that I love forces so many emotions up through me that I can get lost in it.  My photography career lasted over thirty years up until the middle 90’s. Meanwhile, I went through many stereo systems, getting caught up in the journey.

I have been involved (for the last six or seven years) in the audio festival part of the business in helping Gary Gill and Capital Audiofest.  I had volunteered my services and gained experiences that added to my hobbies of photography (I am no longer making a living as a photographer), music reproduction, and others.  Meeting the vendors, manufacturers, and other hobbyists has been of great value to me. I urge anyone in this hobby to volunteer at an audio show.  You will learn a lot, and help out an industry you are part of.  (As for me, I am longer involved with CAF, and pursuing other avenues.)

So I went RMAF and brought my camera.  I am not making any statement about what I heard.  No bits and bytes; no what “sounded” best or worse.    Now, what sounds good to me is music I like and what sound not-so-good is music what I do not like.  Was it Basie, or Armstrong that said: “there are only two kinds of music, good and bad”.  Good or Bad is purely subjective.

My pictures are a celebration of the industrial design behind the equipment.  Form and function is part of my photographic eye.  The term “Eye Candy”, Equipment porn are thrown around a lot.  I consider this goes with the whole piece.  I was into the details.  The small parts that are usually bypassed by the casual observer, I am trying to bring forth.  I hope you enjoy looking.

The photographic details

Everything is handheld, available light.  With the vendors liking mood lighting I was stuck with the proverbial “black cat in a coal bin”.  I pushed my limited camera gear to the limit. ISO set to the highest 128500, carefully using what was there to my advantage.  The camera is my Nikon D810, with Nikor 24 to 85mm, f4 and a Sigma 85mm f2.8 macro. Yes, there is digital manipulation with Photoshop, some very minimal (just contrast and saturation boosting) some extreme with the filters that come with photoshop.

Paul Elliott



  1. These are gorgeous! Great piece. The one labeled “Salk” is actually JWM Acoustics though.

  2. These are superb art photos. I appreciate your wonderful eye. This is a great way to enjoy the show!

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