Many art forms appear to intersect at times. For me personally, the intersection of music and photography is particularly interesting. As an active musician and photographer, I am always surrounded by my tools: cameras and musical instruments. Naturally, I have been taking many pictures of my instruments. How can such connections / intersections help with creativity, beyond the obvious? For example, helping to come up with new project ideas or perhaps deepen existing projects. The fascinating thing for me writing this little piece was that by the simple process of putting my thoughts on paper, I did come up with several new project ideas that I will share below.
Pictures of musical instruments: the obvious connection
Fender Stratocaster Guitar
Stratocaster (foreground), Taylor Acoustic (background)
Tone knob (Stratocaster)
Fretboard and strings (Yamaha guitar)
Other music related stuff ends up in my pictures as well. Like amplifiers, microphones and such.
Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb Amp (amp of my friend Dave, this is an original Blackface amp, it sounds as good as it looks!)
Fender Princeton Reverb Amp (Reissue, not as cool as the Blackface, but it sounds fantstic)
The legendary Shure SM57 microphone (used for gigs and recording)
I love analog! My record player 🙂
My friend Dave helping me with a guitar repair (he knows how to solder!). Dave is also a very talented guitarist, we often jam jazz together.
One of the best (if not the best?) jazz records of all time
Pictures of musicians
I also love to take pictures and portraits of musicians. Below are a few examples.
my friends and talented fellow musicians of the Dirty Birds: Kelly (left) & Lance (right): porch practice
The man: Lance on his acoustic bass
Also the man: Kelly on his acoustic guitar
A little bit of flare (those vintage Leica lenses are not always that flare resistant!)
More flare 😉
Photography of musicians was an obvious connection, but intriguing to me as it combines two creative endeavors I am passionate about.
What about intersections that are less obvious? What about music about photography?
I personally have not written (or played) music about photography. But I am inspired to do so. A quick google search resulted in a list of better known songs about photography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_about_photography You might recognize a few of those!
I’ve reached out to one of my bandmates with the idea of writing a song about a photograph. We will see where this will take us. It’s just a concept for now, but maybe something might happen with it.
What about new project ideas?
Another less obvious connection for me is a project I have been thinking about for a while. It is a new project that is also on the intersection of photography and music in the broadest sense (it is really more about voices/sound).
It is a portrait project where I plan to take pictures of people, and do a brief interview with them and record their voices (that’s the only connection to music – sound). I might call the project: what’s on your mind? Or at least that will be the question I will ask them. I might narrow the scope to musicians only, we shall see.
My bandmates and I have been working on writing new tunes for a recording. With that we need to assemble some promotional materials (band pictures, other pictures, record art) together. That’s another project I am excited about and will be working on. I might use some of the materials shown on this page, but we will definitely take more portraits!
And lastly, I also think that I want to take more pictures of people playing music: musicians. This is actually an area that I’d like to spend more energy on. I wanted to do more portraiture for a while and have been generally too shy to do street portraiture. If live concerts return, you might see me there with my film cameras!
I wanted to share these images, and these ideas. I think in order to be creative, we need a few things: we need to be enthusiastic about the subject, or at the very least very interested, and we need to make connections. One way to do that is to connect to other art forms. The obvious connection for me is and has been connecting music and photography. This has clearly been a source of creativity and inspiration for me. Of course, any connections (exchanges) can spur creativity. Exchanges with other artists, with other people, with books, with places, with memories. Visiting art museums. Studying the masters. And so forth. By thinking about and making those connections to things we are interested in, we can hopefully create better more engaging art and/or just generally be more creative. And in the end, our creations then should themselves connect with the viewers. If those creations are of things we are passionate about and care about, then this connection will be easier and more natural.
Daniel is a Minneapolis Saint Paul based photographer, originally from Basel, Switzerland. Daniel loves the creative process, and recently started a photography podcast focusing on the art of photography.