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Synesthesia, Photography, and a Different Way of Experiencing Images

Posted By Andrea Weckerle On January 9, 2007 @ 11:32 am In Art of Photography | 1 Comment

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Have you ever wondered what colors sound like? Or what images taste like? Well, if you were someone with synesthesia [2], you’d know.

Just what is synesthesia? According to [3]Richard Cytowic, M.D., a leading synesthesia researcher:

It denotes the rare capacity to hear colors, taste shapes, or experience other equally startling sensory blendings whose quality seems difficult for most of us to imagine.

A synesthete might describe the color, shape, and flavor of someone’s voice, or music whose sound looks like “shards of glass,” a scintillation of jagged, colored triangles moving in the visual field. Or, seeing the color red, a synesthete might detect the “scent” of red as well. The experience is frequently projected outside the individual, rather than being an image in the mind’s eye.

Many different kinds [4]of synesthesia exist, ranging from synesthetic art and synesthetic images to synesthetic cinema, and others.

A few years ago on the Photo.com discussion forum, [5] “Oliver S.” wrote, [6] “… after wondering why I never managed to take a photograph that I liked of certain motifs, it dawned on me that I simply couldn’t because the colours of the object’s name and of the object clashed.” Quite a few fellow photographers shared their own experiences with synesthesia.

But perhaps one of the most well-known synesthetic photographer is Marcia Smilack, [7] who creates what she calls “paintings by camera” and focuses exclusively on reflections found on moving water, shooting the image as she experiences a texture or sound. Her unique approach to photography is also manifested in the names she’s given the pictures, such as Slime for Clouds, Can-Can Dancers + Telephone Ring, and Singing Arches.

You can read more about Marcia on her site, or hear her speak at The 6th Annual National Conference of the American Synesthesia Association [8] on January 26-28.

Yale Scientific Magazine explores the mystery of synesthesia here [9].

[tags]synesthesia, photography, andrea weckerle[/tags]

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1 Comment To "Synesthesia, Photography, and a Different Way of Experiencing Images"

#1 Comment By andy ilachinski On May 10, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

FYI: I have been exploring synesthesia and photography for several years now, have posted a number of blog entries on the subject:

[10]

and have recently self-published a book of "Synesthstic Landscapes":

[11]


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URL to article: http://rising.blackstar.com/synesthesia-photography-and-a-different-way-of-experiencing-images.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Tweet: https://twitter.com/share

[2] synesthesia : http://www.synaesthete.com/synaesthesia-links/

[3] According to : http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/v2/psyche-2-10-cytowic.html

[4] Many different kinds : http://www.doctorhugo.org/synaesthesia/art/index.html

[5] Photo.com discussion forum,: http://www.photo.net/community/

[6] wrote,: http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=001TSR

[7] Marcia Smilack,: http://www.marciasmilack.com/index.php

[8] The 6th Annual National Conference of the American Synesthesia Association: http://synesthesia.info/

[9] here: http://research.yale.edu/ysm/article.jsp?articleID=83

[10] : http://tao-of-digital-photography.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-else-thing-is.html

[11] : http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3209776

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