tPP59: Music and meaning in photography

Hosted by Daniel j Gregory

April 25, 2016

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In this Episode

I have been really interested in how storytelling happens in art. For the past several months I have been looking more an more at how motion pictures and higher-value television shows construct and tell stories. Because the medium is similar to photography, the use of lighting, location, framing, and subjects are very close to how we might use them in a still image. Motion pictures have the added benefit of language, dialog and music. As I was recently watching a number of films, the music really made an impression on me. The music could really drive a lot of our emotional responses.

Music in Motion Pictures

In his essay Film Music, Aaron Copeland suggest that music does five thing in a motion picture. It creates a more convincing atmosphere, underlines the psychology of the scene, acts as background filler, creates a sense of continuity, and asks as a underpinning theatrical build up in a scene or finale of the movie. I really found it interesting how many roles music plays in a motion picture and how they impact various aspects of the movie. There are also two types of music in a movie. Digetic and non-digetic. Digetic music is music that the actors can hear and react to, such as music on a jukebox or car radio like the barn scene in the movie Witness. Non-digetic music is the score or music that is played over the scene but the actors have no awareness.

All of that got me thinking about how to use music as an editing piece when creating a project or portfolio. As you create, edit and sequence what sort of music would play in the background. Would it be a fast paced car chase or a slow classic sonnet. As you look at your work, listen to different types of music and see how that changes your understanding of the position/placement of the images in the sequence as well as their meaning. I think that as you play with your music and images, you might find that often times there is a soundtrack playing to your images.

Photoshop World 2016

I an also so excited to be an instructor at Photoshop World 2016 this summer in Las Vegas. I am teaching four classes and I would love to see you down there this July. You can find more information over at

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