Sound "photographs"

Discussion in 'Photographic Aesthetics and Composition' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Sometimes when I'm out photographing, I find the sound bits from people around more interesting than what they look like.

    I'm wondering if you know of any artists that use sound recordings as "snapshots." Often, there are artwork that incorporate small sound bites, but always as part of a greater whole, either musical, or para-musical (cf. Glenn Gould's Solitudes trilogy).

    What I'm interested in is people who literally let the sound bites stand on their own. Just like we let a photograph stand more or less on its own in an exhibit, are there people who just expose sound bites in one way or another? It's almost like a poem, or a tableau. A short, concise work.

    There were a few similarities between photographic "recording" and sound recording that struck me as well: different angles of capture (tele/narrow; wideangle/atmospheric), definition (35mm/lo-fi; large format/hi-fi), and the relationship between the unseen "snapshooter" and its subject.

    Meatyard tried to translate the impression of sound visually (cf. http://www.apug.org/forums/forum196/41678-meatyard-motion-sound.html) but I wonder if anyone went the other way around and made sound "photographs" out of sonic waves, not light waves.
     
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  2. Jadedoto

    Jadedoto Member

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    I always want to carry around a small film camera with sound, like an 8mm cine or something. But yes, I do feel compelled to record sound sometimes- sometimes the ambiet sound is just part of understanding the atmosphere of a photo.

    On a slightly-off topic note, I remember talking with my grandfather a few weeks back of an exhibition where the artist had lain a piece of paper on water (or plastic or something), and had a fine layer of sand on this. He then played a tone (or several) and photographed the patterns formed by the sound waves acting on the water, thereby acting on the sand. It was quite interesting, and the artist had an obscure name, so I cannot produce the website...
     
  3. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Dianne Bos (http://www.diannebos.com/sound/sound.html) has done some work combining both audio and the visual. For the show that I saw, she made pinhole images while recording the sounds that occurred while making the image. The show was the combination of both types of media, making it quite interesting.
     
  4. Jadedoto

    Jadedoto Member

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    That is interesting. Our local newspaper photographers have done something (vaguely) similar; they've fought for their own website, and now regularly post slideshows with sound.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    back when i was part owner of an art gallery, i planned on a show
    where i recorded sounds as a textural layer to a series of images.
    the sounds were going to be dubbed from micro cassette recorder to a wire
    recorder back to a cassette recorder. i had planned on running these sounds
    as an endless loop, but i ran out of steam and eventually left the gallery.
    i sold off the "vintage" sound recording devices ( wire recorder, and
    recordaphone ) on eBoo, and regretted it afterwards :sad:

    sounds like a fun project michel.
     
  6. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I like it! It's a great idea: long exposure time + sound record of what happens during the exposure. There is time in the pictures, and around it. It's a bit different than what I was thinking, but nonetheless interesting.
     
  7. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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  8. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    O. Winston Link did this in the mid 1950's. His recordings fit perfectly with his photographs but can equally stand on their own. My favorite is the organist that was playing the church bells as a steam locomotive enters the sound from far off, oversteps the bells so all you hear is the locomotive going past, and finally is gone into the night with the bells finishing like they started. Sheer brilliance.
     
  9. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    I've often carried along a little DAT recorder to "photograph" the sounds present while I am shooting. The long exposures leave a lot of time to sit and be quiet. I have burned several of these sessions to disc and sometimes play them in my Ipod while printing. Factory sounds, trains, crickets or waves lapping the shore, it helps get me into the mood I was in while making the photographs.
     
  10. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Bill, that is such a GREAT idea! I would love to be printing and hear the wind in the trees, the waves breaking on a pebble beach, or the long liquid calls of winter wrens deep in the rain forest. Funny how one persons question precipitates an answer that completely shifts anothers perspective - I love this place :smile:

    There's another wrinkle to this for me. I'm at a place now where I realize the most important aspect of my photography isn't the art world shattering brilliance of it all, but how biologists, naturalists, and other scientists of the future will be able to compare the plants in the forest scenes of my photographs with what species are sure to move in as climate changes occur. Recording sounds would give them another opportunity to track what species were here today.

    Murray
     
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  11. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    A great resource for all things related to location sound recording and radio production is Transom.org

    ~Joe
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I believe I've heard an article on this form on NPR demonstrating an artists work. It may have been one of their reporters.
     
  13. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    I'm a fan of theircircularlife too.

    See if you can track down a copy of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää's "Bird Symphony", Goase Dusse. Ambient sound from the wilds of Lappland, plus yoiking and reindeer herding, all arranged in classical symphonic form. If you've ever been to those latitudes it is incredibly evocative.