The activity for week 2 was to consider what discipline I feel that photography of any kind has a particularly interesting or relevant relationship to.
I love music and I listen to music a lot at home, when relaxing, when working and when travelling. Music often makes my mind wander to another place and also provides me with inspiration from time to time. When I was thinking about music today I came across so many different relationships between music and photography.
Music can bring out a certain emotion from inside us or a certain type or music or set of lyrics may simply accompany a certain emotion that we are feeling on any given day. Music can take us away from where we are to another location, either a country that we have been to that we relate to a particular song or style of music or to a country that we have not been before but we desire to visit. Music can also sometimes take our minds to other places where we imagine being in the shoes of the protagonist of the song. When I listen to a song I think I always have a certain “picture” in my mind about the person, the place or the circumstance that the song’s lyrics are describing.
Looking at it from another perspective, photography in music can also provide us with an insight of the musician or their work. Album covers often include a photograph either of the singer or band, or of another object or location that links back in some way or another to the musician(s) or the album. For example, Rage Against the Machine appropriated a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1963 photo by Malcolm Browne of a Buddhist monk self-immolating in protest of Ngo Dinh Diem’s Vietnamese government – a powerful cover for a politically driven debut album.
Browne. 1953. Buddhist Monk. [online]. Available at http://www.ratm.com/ (Links to an external site.). [Accessed on 29/09/16]
There have also been many songs whose lyrics have incorporated photography in some shape or form. As an example, the lyrics of “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran include reference to the photograph as a way of freezing still time forever and to keep memories inside the pocket of ripped jeans.
There have been songs written about famous photographers. The most well known perhaps “Kevin Carter” by the Manic Street Preachers that was based on the life of a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who tragically took his own life shortly after receiving the Pulitzer prize. The music video also incorporates a lot of moving images of the camera.
Music is also used across a number of different genres, notably in commercial photography, wedding photography or photojournalism. Careful selection of a musical score or song can indeed add further context to a photograph or series of photographs and may help to add emphasis or emotion to certain images.