Music&Photography

I love music, I listen to it while walking, going anywhere, in the street… I feel it and think about images and pictures of the place I’m walking depending on the song. I’m not good at remembering names of songs, singing or even knowing popular music. I like the music I like and that’s it.

Do you listen to music when editing photographs? I do and it certainly varies my mood and the way I edit photographs. Specially when I’m in the wrong mood I can get really mad or in a bad humour (not to speak how the photographs will end!!)

When editing weddings I need to be surrounded by intrumental music, something soft and warm. That’s why, I apologize to my work-mate when I was editing my first wedding in the UK and didn’t stop listening to the same music. It’s beautiful, but after the 100th time you hear it, it starts to be a bit repetitive, I know…

But music is much more than the mood. Music adds meaning, leads you through a path and, sometimes, it also helps to tell a story.

When I started posting photographs on my flickr, I always posted music with them, a simple link, a song that would go with it and maybe, would add a special mood. Of course it was my favourite music and it showed the way I was feeling that day. I even ended creating a photograph for a specific song.

A while ago, when I started with my research on photography in motion, a friend gave me a device he had created for my camera so it shot every “x” seconds. And I created a video-portrait (normally people use those things to shoot at the sky or a flower for hours… I wanted to make a portrait with it) I wanted it to be a portrait. Because, you know, I’m a portrait photographer ;)

(this was made two years ago, I would have done it VERY different now but hey, it’s there, it’s part of my work, let’s use it)

The music I used was Breathe me by Sia (I love that song) and it drastically changes the mood in the video. While I was just “posing” and changing my face expression, music adds a very powerful meaning.

That made me think about photographers who work with music and the way they combine music and images.

That same year I came across someone who loves (L.O.V.E.S) U2, hence I discovered a lot of the work of Anton Corbijn (creator of some of the videos and photographs of U2) and his film Control. It’s another example of the combination of music and images, photography and sound. (And it’s been a while that I wanted to talk about it in our Filming Photography section)

My question is… how much do you use music when editing? How influential it is in your photography? Is your photography influenced by music/music photographers? and, finally, have you ever created a music-photography combination project?

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About Emma Espejo

Graduated from English Philology in the University of Barcelona, I wanted to study a phd on Literature but ended dedicating my life to Photography. Full time teacher of English, and full time photographer (a passion can't be neglected). Working on my photography and making other people happy with my photographs makes me happy, as well as a good conversation, reading a good book and watching a good tv series. I'm a reader, dreamer, lover, photographer, writer, thinker... a little bit of everything.
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2 Responses to Music&Photography

  1. nico says:

    I can’t imagine working without music, being wile taking pictures, or printing, or editing them… I don’t think that the music I listen to has a direct impact on what I do (at least in the printing or editing part), in the sense that I can listen to pretty hardcore stuff while creating soft images ^^
    Yet, I tend to associate (but only for myself) music and series I do, and I can listen to a single album in loop for an entire day (Légèreté et Profondeur is for example associated to the album “Brave new World” by Iron Maiden, don’t ask me why ^^)

    As you know, I like my pictures very silent, so I can’t imagine associating them with music to create something new. Even soft music. I have the feeling it would destroy something very subtle in the image, maybe turning the whole into a “stronger” experience in terms of emotions (like in your video), but somehow distracting the viewer from the image, which is something I do not want ^^

    That reminds me…
    I remember a very nice series of portraits of people listening to music, with the name of the track as subtitle to the picture, associating people’s expressions with the music they’re listening to… That was pretty cool, and the portraits were nice anyway ;)

    • Emma Espejo says:

      Thanks for your comment, nico!!
      Actually, I tend to be very silent, lately, and I don’t know why but I enjoy the silence more than music when editing depending what. I think I have too much noise inside my head and need some silence outside to be able to think and work well ‘^^
      But music does affect and influence my work because it affects and influences my mood and the way I’m feeling towards those photographs. I listen to jazz or similar styles when editing streets(in black&white), soft instrumental (classical or soft soundtracks) when editing weddings, and for personal photos I normally listen to the music that reminds me of that moment or that person. (but of course, it all depends, not a strict order or need. right now I’m listening to “500 Summer days” soundtrack :))

      That series of portraits… I think I know it, is it this one? http://mramosportfolio.carbonmade.com/projects/2103177

      Manu was a “mirror” a while ago, too ^^ (http://thelonelywalkers.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/mirrors-manuel-ramos/)

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