Sometimes a Glass is Not Just a Glass

Sometimes a Glass is Not Just a Glass

Posted by Sarah Zanolini on 29th May 2015

"Redbud Leaves," by Kelly Daniels. Submission to our 2014 Macro Photography Contest.

In browsing recent photo blogs, I came across this great piece from our friends at the Luminous Landscape on “Synesthetic Landscapes.” The author, Dr. Andy Ilachinsky, writes about evoking synesthetic perception as a means of creating artful photo pieces. Synesthesia is a condition where one might experience sound as color, numbers as fragrance, or other varied (and individually attuned) conflation of one sensory input with layered experience from another sense. Although people with synesthesia are fairly rare in the general population, several notable creatives were document with the condition (including Vladimir Nabokov, my all-time favorite author).

My take away from Ilachinsky’s essay was that although we are working within a visual medium as photographers, it is important not to be overly fixed on “reality as we see it.” If we instead learn to focus in on“reality as we feel it,” our ability to envision common objects, scenes, and themes in new ways expands exponentially. Layered through the article were several abstract photographs shot by the author. These images evoke landscapes ranging from a stormy ocean to an ochre sunset over white desert sands, but It turns out that all of them were inspired by one of the humblest of household objects: a glass.

This style of re-envisioning of the local environment on a fractal level reminded me of some of the macro photography produced by our friend Mike Moats. If you’re looking for more inspiration to get your started on your journey to capturing synesthetic-esq abstract works, you can check out Mike’s gallery here, or, browse Ron Bigelow’s multi-step tutorial on how to create abstract images.