I love the notion of synaesthesia. In its most simple definition, it’s the notion that something we experience through one of our five senses (smell, sight, sound, taste or touch) can trigger an experience in one of the other senses. Neurologically, it is a rare condition in which neural pathways have somehow become confused, and the sense receptors taking in one set of data interpret it as a different set of values altogether. So that somebody listening to a musical concerto might experience the musical notes as flavours on the tongue. Somebody smelling a bouquet of flowers may instead sense the aroma as flashes of colour. It’s a marvellous, mystical notion (for those of us who don’t suffer from it) and really piques my imagination. (And for readers of paperback fiction, Dean Koontz’s “Intensity” features a particularly creepy villain who experiences synaesthesia).
As a photographer, it’s my aim in taking and sharing a photograph that my viewer takes away an experience from looking at the image that goes beyond the simple arrangement of coloured pixels. At the very simplest, I want to convey some kind of emotion. That might be awe, at the beauty of creation. It might be shock, or something that forces the viewer out of their comfort zone and forces them to confront a new reality. It might be a sense of longing or excitement, a wanderlust as per the title of this blog, or the recollection of a fond old memory.
I started taking photographs- much in the same vein with which I started this blog- because I wanted the people close to me, who I couldn’t take with me on my travels, to experience a little of what I was experiencing. I wanted, through my photographs, to take people to the places and let them feel, on some level, as though they accompanied me. It’s both a gift I hope to give to those close to me, and the fulfillment of a selfish need- not to feel alone when I journey.
My ultimate desire is for somebody to be able to look at a photograph and, on some level of subconciousness, to be able to project themselves through the frame until they have a sensory experience as though they were standing there beside me as I captured the image. Deep, sensory, emotive, real. A synaesthesia of sorts.
Not every photograph conveys that, of course. And the fashion in which an experience might be conveyed will differ with the subject, the style, and the quality of the image. Some photos might pack a more emotive punch, while others might trigger familiar memories, and others still might be more sensory.
This collection of shots I’ve taken over the last few months are all of water, and I’ve found that for me, they’ve tickled the edge of this spectrum. I explore them with my eyes, and I start to hear the water passing through the image.
For a change, I won’t flood this page with words, but will let you assign your own vocabulary to whatever the sets communicate to you.
The first collection is a series I shot at Huka Falls, in New Zealand’s North Island near Taupo. The second is from the area around a small waterfall on the edge of Otway National Park in southern Victoria, just off the Great Ocean Road.
One of the things I like in the second set is the juxtaposition between noise and silence, movement and stillness.