Paint, Music, Action: A Photographer Seeks to Capture Music in His Camera


At first glance, these photographs will have you wondering about the unusual yet striking subject they capture. They may come across as intriguing structures made of merging color splatters that might look essentially the same with each progressing photo. However, that’s not the complete truth. Each image has quite a unique and fascinating origin. What you see in the photographs is an attempt by a photographer to answer the question “What does music look like?”

Prince, “Sign 'O' the Times“56x42-Martin Klimas-20

Martin Klimas is a German photographer who has worked on many interesting projects that include the acclaimed series on high speed captures of breaking porcelain figurines. This project is equally unique and impressive. Klimas begins by splattering paint of different colors on a pre-stretched canvas over the diaphragm of a speaker. Putting the music on maximum volume, he then lets the sound do the talking. The vibration of the speaker sends the paint aloft in fascinating patterns that are revealed in the high-speed captures through his Hasselblad.

Aptly titled Sonic Sculptures, the music, form and color intermingle to produce a visual display that delights you as much as it makes you wonder. Each image originates from a different piece of music – typically something dynamic and percussive, like Kraftwerk, Carl Orff, or Daft Punk. These absorbing photographs are probably going to leave you synaesthetic. Sit back, relax and ‘see' the music, or ‘listen' to these photographs, perhaps.

Terry Riley, “A Rainbow in curved Air“ 56x42-Martin Klimas-25
Terry Riley, “A Rainbow in curved Air”
Velvet Underground and Nico “Run Run Run“ 56x42-Martin Klimas-26
Velvet Underground and Nico, “Run Run Run”
John Cage, _Twenty-Three_ 56x42-Martin Klimas-07
John Cage, “Twenty-Three”
James Brown, “Sex Machine“ 56x42-Martin Klimas-05
James Brown, “Sex Machine”
John Coltrane, _Ascension_ 56x42-Martin Klimas-08
John Coltrane, “Ascension”
Jimi Hendrix, “House Burning Down“ 100x135-Martin Klimas-06
Jimi Hendrix, “House Burning Down”
Prince, “Sign 'O' the Times“56x42-Martin Klimas-20
Prince, “Sign ‘O' the Times”
Charlie Parker, “Ornithology“ 56x42-Martin Klimas-02
Charlie Parker, “Ornithology”
Rosenbloom & Buchla, “How much better, if Plymouth Rock had landed on the Pilgrims“ 100x135-Martin Klimas-22
Rosenbloom & Buchla, “How much better, if Plymouth Rock had landed on the Pilgrims”
Philip Glass, “Music with changing Parts_ 100x135-Martin Klimas-17
Philip Glass, “Music with changing Parts”
Ornette Coleman, “Free Jazz, A Collective Improvisation“, Side A 100x135-Martin Klimas-15
Ornette Coleman, “Free Jazz, A Collective Improvisation“ Side A
Miles Davis, “Pharaoh’s Dance,” from “Bitches Brew”56x42-Martin Klimas-14
Miles Davis, “Pharaoh’s Dance”
Richard Wagner, “Ride of the Valkyries_ 56x42-Martin Klimas-21
Richard Wagner, “Ride of the Valkyries”
Daft Punk, _Around the World_ 56x42-Martin Klimas-03
Daft Punk, “Around the World”
Carl Orff, “Carmina Burana“ 100 x135-Martin Klimas-01
Carl Orff, “Carmina Burana”
Karlheinz Stockhausen, from “Sirius“ 100x135-Martin Klimas-10
Karlheinz Stockhausen, from “Sirius”
Grace Jones, “Slave To The Rhythm“ 56x42-Martin Klimas-04
Grace Jones, “Slave To The Rhythm”
Steve Reich and Musicians, “Drumming” 100x135-Martin Klimas-23
Steve Reich and Musicians, “Drumming”
Pink Floyd, “On the run“ 56x42-Martin Klimas-18
Pink Floyd, “On the run”
Paul Hindemith, “Ludus Tonalis” 56x42-Martin Klimas-16
Paul Hindemith, “Ludus Tonalis”
Pink Floyd, “Time_ 56x42-Martin Klimas-19
Pink Floyd, “Time”
Kraftwerk, “Transistor,” from “Radio-Activity”56x42-Martin Klimas-11
Kraftwerk, “Transistor” from “Radio-Activity”
Miles Davis, “Bitches Brew”56x42-Martin Klimas-13
Miles Davis, “Bitches Brew”
Massive Attack, _Angel_ 56x42-Martin Klimas-12
Massive Attack, “Angel”
JS Bach, “Toccata und Fuge D-Moll“56x42-Martin Klimas-09
JS Bach, “Toccata und Fuge D-Moll“

If you are wondering how the setup looks like, here are a few behind-the-scenes shots to give you an idea.




You can see more of Klimas' work on his website

(All images © Martin Klimas)

About Author

Ritesh has been photographing since 2010 and his photographic interests have varied from nature and landscapes to street photography. You can see his photography on Flickr or on his website.

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