It's been a while since I made a post for Time Machine Tuesday, the occasional look back at least one year to an image made at the same general time of year. This one is from a July evening six years ago, during a night photography walkabout through the center of Dresden, Germany (3 seconds, f/5.6 at 100 ISO, for the technically curious). All in all I spent two nights in that city taking my camera and tripod for a walk in search of a little photographic night music.
This post, as well as the image, really have nothing at all to do with Eine kleine Nachtmusik, one of Mozart's most famous compositions, which is commonly translated as A Little Night Music. I was just thinking of how the variations of light, tone and color in a photographic composition can sometimes be visually similar to a musical composition, and since this is a night photograph, that title popped into my head and would not be dislodged. Of course, those who actually compose music might take issue with such a comparison, and when talking of a musical composition as intricate and sublime as Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, I might even agree with them.
It's hard to compare a single press of the shutter with a complex and beautifully nuanced piece of music. But the correlation between music and photography is not a new one. Perhaps the most famous photographer who was one of the first (if not the first) to make the comparison was Ansel Adams, who seriously studied the piano for many years in his youth. His training as a musician had a definite influence on his visual artistry and how he saw the role of light and the tonal scale in photographs. Perhaps his most famous comparison between photography and music was his idea that the photographic negative was like a musical score, and the print was akin to the performance of that score.
He also wrote: "I can look at a fine art photograph and sometimes I can hear music."
If you're in the mood to hear some beautiful music, specifically, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, see the video below...