We’ve known for years that music can have a physical effect on the world. Composers have reported experiencing synaesthestic responses of colors according to certain notes, melodies, or songs, while listeners have experienced ecstatic religious visions while listening to symphonies.
However, artist Stephen Orlando has taken this a step further by actually managing to photograph the movements and patterns of sound as music plays, thanks to the long exposure settings on cameras and some well-placed LED lights. The visual and sonic experiment, which exists as part of Orlando’s “Motion Exposure” photography series, was developed when he first viewed the violin light paintings of Gjon Mill (who painted a similar series in 1952).
“This technique reveals beautiful light trails created by paths of familiar objects,” Orlando commented on his website. “These light trails have not been artificially created with Photoshop. They represent the actual paths of the objects.”
To create the beautiful light trails of music, Orlando presented violinists and cellists with bows specially modified with multicolored lights, before asking them to perform for him. The bows’ lights, when combined with a designed low-light setting, and the long exposure setting, created the photographs of musical performances turned into the shimmering, glowing bands of color as shown below.
Check out more of Orlando’s work at his website and Instagram. Let us know what you think about Stephen Orlando’s experiments with light and music. Gorgeous imagery? Or more just pointless smoke and mirrors?