A percussionist plays a hanging sheet of paper in Tan Dun's opera, Tea: A Mirror Of Soul at the New Zealand International Arts Festival 2006 (click the image to embiggen)

[#5 in a series of my favourite images, from my first 15 years as a professional photographer.]

To me, there's a lot to like in this week's image, from Tan Dun's opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in 2006; it's simple, clean, and graphic.

And yet, at the same time, there's something mysterious about it. Like the best production images for promoting the arts, it raises more questions than it answers.

The set for this opera included floor-to-ceiling sheets of paper on three corners of the stage, which were bathed in blue light and played live by percussionists; so what we're seeing here is the shock waves from a hit rippling out through the sheet as the sound comes out to us.

It's not something you'd necessarily imagine happening on stage, or try to picture in your head if I described it; but once you see it, and understand what you're seeing, hopefully it makes you want to see the show...!

Next week, another year - 2007...