Synæsthesia is a neurological condition in which two or more of the senses are linked together, resulting in a combination of sensory or cognitive perceptions. I create abstract representations of my synæsthetic experiences of sound and music through photography. Read more...Every sound I hear has a corresponding visual element that appears in my field of vision, overlapping my entire visible world with colorful, undulating abstract forms that change as quickly as sound travels.
Using long exposures to pan the camera across multicolored neon lights, I am able to replicate visual effects similar to my synæsthetic manifestations. I have developed a range of focus settings and camera motions to represent the different types of sonic expressions I see. It is a highly intuitive process that requires much trial and error to produce a satisfactory image. I primarily work in digital photography for this reason; the finished artwork may be my 10th, 20th, or 50th iteration.
Though I was born with synæsthesia, I didn’t realize it was unusual to see sound until 2014 when I heard about a person with a similar condition on an episode of Radiolab. I started this project as an attempt to show the world what only I can see. By visualizing synæsthesia through photography, I hope to inspire fellow synæsthetes to explore how their own unique perceptions can be utilized in art. In addition, I hope that my project can be used to bring awareness to the general public about this rare and little-understood brain condition.
Below each image is a sound clip that represents the synæsthetic visualization depicted in the photograph. Headphones are recommended for the most accurate experience. All media used with permission.
Note: Since the exhibition concluded as of November 8, 2021, the license to use this music has expired. I have removed the sound clips, but I've left the song title and artist for reference.