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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wyoming Photographer’s Book Shows Music Hall Through a Different Lens

For Matthew Zory, a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra musician and an award-winning photographer, documenting the historic renovation of Cincinnati Music Hall was an adventure.

Matthew Zory and his wife, Shelly Reese, and two daughters live in Wyoming. 
“I’ve played in Music Hall for more than 20 years, but photographing the renovation enabled me to explore parts of the building I’d never seen before,” says the Wyoming resident and CSO assistant principal bass. “It was fascinating to photograph the ‘bones’ of Music Hall that the guys exposed during the renovation. They uncovered these incredible beams from the 1870s and windows that had been hidden behind walls and drop ceilings for decades. The workmanship was incredible.”

Zory spent hundreds of hours photographing the hall during its 16-month renovation and is publishing a book featuring his favorite shots. Through the Lens: The Remaking of Cincinnati’s Music Hall, a 272-page limited edition coffee-table book, will be released December 1. 

Matthew Zory documented the historic renovation of Music Hall in a new book, Through the Lens.
“I never intended to publish a book,” he says. “As a matter of fact, I never intended to photograph the entire renovation project. I thought I’d go in a couple of times, take a few pictures and that would be it. But everything they were doing was so interesting and the light from all the work lights and blow torches was so cool, I kept going back. I posted a lot of photos on Facebook, and people kept asking, ‘When is the book coming out?’ It made me realize that other people were as captivated by the project as I was.”

For Zory, whose work has appeared in numerous local galleries, including the Taft Museum, Carnegie Center for the Arts, and Wash Park Art, the most challenging aspect of the project was winnowing a portfolio of more than 10,000 photos down to a few hundred for publication. 

Fortunately, he had help. His wife, Shelly Reese, is a writer and independent project manager. 
“This was right up her alley,” he says. “In addition doing all the writing she guided me through the organizational process. She asked me a lot of questions and let me babble on about what I wanted to convey. That conversation established the framework for the book. She was also really brutal about making me meet deadlines.”

Zory will be speaking about the project at a reception at the Mercantile Library, located at 414 Walnut St. downtown, on Tuesday, December 5 at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. You can purchase Through the Lens at the Music Hall Bravo Shop beginning in December. Locally the book will be available at the Wyoming Holiday One-Stop Shop at the Civic Center on Saturday, December 2.

To preorder copies of Through the Lens visit

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