Cities and Memory is combining sound art, sound mapping, and field recordings, launching a global collaboration between photographers and sound artists. The project, entitled Sound Photography, consists of sound pieces inspired by photographs.

What is the relationship between photography and sound? The project’s website ask. In today’s visually-dominated culture, how can we use sound to respond to what we see around us?

Covering 34 countries over six continents, making it “the biggest ever worldwide artistic interaction between photographers and sound artists,” participants hopes these questions can be answered. 

For the project, composer Stuart Fowkes —who founded Cities and Memory in 2014—created a database of photos he received from volunteers around the world. He then had sound artists choose a photo and, based on how the photo made them think and feel, had them create a unique sound composition to mirror it.

For example, in the experience titled “Brazil – Many Paths to the Sea”, the photograph, by Giulia Biasibetti, reveals a “night rainstorm in Rio de Janeiro, with shimmering lights from Copacabana Beach in the background.” The image is overlaid with sound by David Dasinger, a track consisting of both the natural rain sounds and the thunder of a storm, as well as a more artificial composition of ambient noise and musical tones.

Dasinger describes his sound design :

“I had existing field recordings of rain on my leaky front porch and was inspired by the different rhythms that emerge as the flow changes. While working on this project it started to rain so I enhanced the effect by setting up various make-shift percussion instruments under the leaks, then chopped up the samples into loops of various lengths.

Different photos and their accompany soundtracks be found here. Each collaboration provides information on how the photograph inspired the sound (similar to the information from above, along with a world map showing where each of the photos was taken.


Cover Photo by Drew Patrick Miller

Embedded Photographs and Sounds via AudioBoom