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Motion Exposure by Stephen Orlando

This Is What String Music Would Look Like If We Could See It


Artist Stephen Orlando photographs the music of string instruments using LED lights with spectacular results.

If one closes their eyes during a classical music concert it is very likely one would see drawings made of light or colors, above all when the string instruments play a main part. And this visual privilege is not just for those with synesthesia, but also for anyone who can perceive the physical progression of music in time. The photographer Stephen Orlando captured those acoustic movements, which are almost imperceptible to the eyes, in a beautiful series of photos using LED lights.

By carefully placing the LED lights and leaving a camera in prolonged exposure, Orlando was able to trace the movements of the arm and the bow of the violin, following the lines of light extending from the body and the instrument. These phantasmagorical rainbows are not doctored in Photoshop, and which makes them even more spectacular. The artist explains:

A relative motion between the performer and camera must exist for the light trails to move through the frame. I found it easier to move the camera instead of the performer. The LEDs are programmed to change color to convey a sense of time. The progression of time is from left to right in the viola and violin photos and from top to bottom in the cello photos. Each photo is a single exposure and the light trails have not been manipulated in post processing.

Motion Exposure by Stephen Orlando


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