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Photographing Noise

Updated on September 9, 2013
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. | Source

It's noisy photography, but eventually the calm will return. A photographic project that involves capturing images of noise and then calm can be intriguing to say the least. How do you represent a noisy scene with a visual medium? So what is each;noise and tranquility?

"Noise is unwanted sound. Noise can be produced by many sources - man's vocal cord, a running engine, a vibrating loudspeaker diaphragm, an operating machine tool, and so on." www.epd.Gov and a definition of tranquility:

"1. Making little or no noise: quiet neighbors; a quiet engine.2. Free of loud noise; hushed: a quiet street.3. Calm and unmoving; still: a quiet lake.4. Free of turmoil and agitation; untroubled. See Synonyms at still1.5. Restful; soothing: a quiet afternoon nap; a quiet tune on the flute.6. Tranquil; serene: a quiet place in the country.7. Not showy or garish; subdued: a room decorated in quiet colors.8. Restrained in style; understated: a quiet strength; a quiet life." www.dictionary.com

The answer is simpler than what you may think. A very popular print add that gained fame around the world a few years back was one for a speaker company that featured a man sitting on his recliner couch while huge speakers were "blasting" music, his hair and tie were wildly flapping in the "air" that was created by these speakers. Off course an audience could only image what the noise must have been, but in reality the "noise" was created by two big fans, nothing more.

It's the play upon the mind that often accomplishes what we intent it to be; we fill in the blanks when we lack cues or other stimuli. We see what we want to see or what we think we should be seeing.

Pick subjects that by their reactions or actions emphasize a noisy environment such as the wash created by a jet engine, a speeding race car, a kid banging on some drums or even firecrackers. Add to these images of the contrary such as a person resting under a shadow of a large tree in the middle of a clear field, an image of a sleeping baby, a library setting. Things that we normally associate with peace and tranquility.

A quick search of the Internet will give you several samples not only of tranquility but of noisy situations. Use it to gather ideas for subjects to photograph. Other good samples are a motorcycle, a big crowd, a close up of a trumpet and the player, a construction worker with a jackhammer and so on.

Try to record images that are colorful and poignant. Other scenes could be a grimacing person tightly putting their hands to their ears and a busy thoroughfare. You can even apply this theme or at least parts of it towards technology such as the "noise" created by a digital program, digital photographic noise, ambient noise, noise pollution and many other examples.

A good project to do would be to capture images of both subjects and write an article around it which can be submitted to various publication and even local newspapers. For example how are communities dealing with noise pollution, samples of it and steps to correct it.

Interesting and eye catching presentation pieces will include images of both; noisy and calm, and preferably two samples of the same scene; a busy thoroughfare and the same scene when its empty, a busy construction site and later when the work has finished.

Many of these images can be submitted to travel magazines, especially the tranquility scenes and to other general photographic publications. Many can also be used in the production of calendars.

Other noise scenes can be found in nature such as a herd of livestock, images of some insect such as crickets and cicadas. And off course for tranquility there are plenty of possibilities such as a calm quiet beach early in the morning or a tranquil sunset.

Treat this project as you would any other photographic project which you intent on publishing or submitting to a photography stock house. Be attentive to detail and to the quality of the scene.

Ask yourself once you have decided on a subject if the composition emphasizes your intention of noise or tranquility, if you can truthfully answer yes, then snap the shot.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
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      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      isloooboy: thanks, glad that you enjoyed it

    • isloooboy profile image

      isloooboy 6 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

      I love your post the way way you explained little details sound to me amazing

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
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      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Eiddwen: Thank you, glad you liked it

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting indeed and thank you for sharing.

      Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
      Author

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thank you Mrs. Murphy

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 6 years ago

      Interesting juxtaposition Luis and thanks for pointing it out. I will be keeping an eye for subjects as this!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
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      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      randomcreative: thank you

      FloraBreenRobinson: Thank you, yes they are pointless

      Cardisa: Ummmm...we need to talk...lol (just kidding)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Sound can be loud but wanted too, like music at a concert. The photograph of the plane low to the ground was scary. The sound that I find the most annoying as far as mechanically produced sounds go? Leaf blowers. Not only are they noisy they are pointless. all they do is blow the leaves into the neigbour's lawn or on the street. It is cleaning the rug in a child's room by picking up the toys and putting them in another room but still on thefloor

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I'm willing to pay, just not with money.....maybe a goat....lol

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Another great topic!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
      Author

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Cardisa; It's just another photo technique or subject theme. I'm going to start charging you for the lessons....lol

      Thanks

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      This is very interesting. I have always seen photos with crowds at stadiums or people shouting while others cover their ears but never realized it was an art form. Thanks again for another lesson.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
      Author

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Sandyksk: Thank you , glad that you liked them

    • Sandyksk profile image

      Sandy Jauregui 6 years ago from Sanger

      Interesting...thank you for pointing out the obvious...well, obvious now that you pointed it out...it's a new way to 'look' at my photos...thank you very much! :)

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image
      Author

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Drjacki: Thank you. It's always exciting to know that young people have a passion for the arts.

    • Drjacki profile image

      Drjacki 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I will share this information with my teen daughter who wants to make a career out of her love for photography.