Kathy Muir Photography

Art and Music - Is there any other way?

I'm a musician, a singer-songwriter. But, I love my photography and have sought long and hard to integrate the two. The creative processes are quite different, almost like different sides of the brain.

When taking a photograph, the possible composition before you stirs the emotions and, if the composition fulfills a need to capture the image, 'click' and it's there before you. A thumbnail that embodies a multitude of emotions you felt when you took the shot.

The inverse could be said of writing a song. You start with a thread of a sonic image for which you seek to amplify the visual sounds until the woven picture is perfect. I've often said I write in landscapes: the song isn't complete until the tapestry in my mind's eye covers the sonic canvas.

An example might be to play/place strings along the length of the song, gently undulating, like murmurs. Not jagged but smooth. Then you might hear a tubular bell chiming towards the end of the song. On the 'virtual' painting, this would be a few dashes with a paint brush or a pen. Even the tool used will represent the softness or harshness of the sound.

And so, you build up the song, hoping to apply each instrument's emotion into it, helping it find its place, its sonic space in time.

Then, when the listener hears the piece, they conjure up images in their own mind's eye. It truly is a bottom-up approach that takes much care, and much attentiveness to detail.

Talk to Me Kathy Muir

When I was performing and exhibiting my work at 'Norwalk's Art and Music Walk' event, a lady walked over to my photography stand, having heard me perform a 45-minute set, and asked me if I'd ever thought of incorporating my photography, in some way, into my songs.

I was unsure how to answer because I see photography as a subset of my musical creative process and had never thought specifically of my photography per se. Everything is imagery to me. It was a challenge to answer and a lesson learned, as I explained my writing process.

For me, there is no other way: we see imagery that evokes an emotion and we try to capture it if we can. Should we seek to create a sonic tapestry, the same is true.

Art and music are brothers in arms, forever entwined. At least in this viewer's mind.

Photo credit below: Susan Carson

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