I recently attended a lecture by Dr Daniel Meadows where he gave a history of unique documentary work he undertook in the early ’70s. In a brief summery he drove a double-decker bus around Britain from 1973 to 1974 taking pictures of people in their home towns. The photos helped him get into the media industry and have since taken on a life of their own. But I don’t want to discuss his work in detail as you can do that by visiting his site linked above.
His lecture got me thinking about how imagery resonates with people more than words ever can. You look at photos and immediately you are thinking about the story behind them – the bigger picture. What Dr Meadows is doing now is going through the photographs he took back in the ’70s and adding them with narrative audio to create something more powerful than images alone. You can visit his Photobus website to see the videos.
The other day i stumbled across a series of photos taken by an award-winning photographer named Maciej Dakowicz. They have been put together on YouTube with not a narrative but a soundtrack to accompany them. Although the pictures are moving, funny, sad and shocking by themselves with the music added they become startlingly poignant. Try viewing the video below without the audio and one with and you’ll see what I mean.
The added music makes the imagery thought-provoking and almost serious. You could play something like The Steptoe and Son theme tune over the top and the photos would take on a new comical meaning. Try if for yourself by playing the video above without the audio, and the one below with sound, at roughly the same time – also scroll the screen up so only the first video is visible.
It makes a huge difference doesn’t it? The photos now seem completely different. They are less poignant and more light-hearted, even the sad imagery. Music and imagery combined is a powerful story telling tool (even without a narrative), especially if one compliments the other.