Photographing the Unsee-able

I commenced the project by completing tasks preceding the assignment.
I played the composition by Gyorgy Ligeti: Lux Aeterna, and equipped with a large piece of paper and colorful pens, I tuned in and let everything happen.
I drew whatever came to me while listening to this beautiful piece. It was an unusual experience as I have never done anything like this before. It was very gripping, and it made me wonder about the connection our brain has to music and colors.
I proceeded by watching some Youtube videos on the subject of capturing the sound in photography. One of the remarkable ideas I discovered is Schlieren Imaging. I am fascinated by it, yet I felt like it was a little out of my depth to try to create such an image at present.
I am very keen to attempt it in the future once more confident and skillful.

Building on that, I learned from the following video about Cymatics – the science of visualizing audio frequencies. I was truly astonished by what I learned and was keen to endeavor analogous practices to photograph the sound.

Chladni plates explained brilliantly in this video.

I came across the video explaining how The Sound Visualizer and the Chladni Bucket are used to show how vibrations from sound waves generate some very beautiful patterns, utilizing a few simple materials.

The experiment explained by the author of the video Bruce Yeany: ”The traditional Chladni Plates are solid metal plates that were originally caused to resonant using a violin bow. Sand or some type of powder is commonly used to show the patterns formed by settling into the areas of little energy (nodes) versus being removed from areas of high energy (antinodes). The more advanced version can use a tone generator and vibrator to excite the metal plates and produce more intricate patterns. In this case, I am producing the same types of standing waves on a trash bag that has been stretched across the top of a 5-gallon bucket. The simplest way to resonant the surface is to simply shout at it at various pitches.”

In preparation, I cut the bottom of a bucket and covered it with a bin bag, taping the edges with cling film. Regrettably, the material was notably rugged and bumpy, and I couldn’t accomplish the desired effect. Alternatively, I decided to use cling film as it has a smoother surface.
I tried, as much as possible, to balance it out (fundamentally unmanageable on a narrowboat), covered the surface in grains of salt, and placed the speaker underneath the bucket.

I did not entirely succeed, as I failed to generate beautiful shapes and patterns (cling film was impossible to tighten enough, and I didn’t have better material to work with).
Nevertheless, principally the operation was successful as I managed to capture images of the sound. Shapes and molds will expectedly emerge on a future endeavor.
On this occasion, I photographed bouncing grains of salt to the sound of the music played by the speaker.

I took a series of pictures and grouped them into folders. Subsequently, I created gif images using Procreate as the most suitable illustration and my interpretation of the activity.

Published by Elzbieta Skorska

My name is Elzbieta Skorska. I am a second-year photography student degree at MMU.

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