Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Sounds Look Like

It occurs to me that a camera works very differently from your eyes. A camera records, but your eyes share all sorts of sensory real estate with all of your other senses. When thinking about some of my favorite (or least favorite) sounds, I have to parcel out whether some are sounds, or smells, or sights, or some combination thereof. Do I like the sound of a plane taking off, or the feeling of it? When I hear a lawn mower, is it the sound or the smell that I enjoy? Coffee brewing? None of this is ultimately important unless you're trying to think what sounds look like. Or whether they are even sounds to begin with. This must be the stuff that sound technicians on film sets obsess about, and when you see a movie, it's all these sensory experiences working together to tell a story. Horses breathing, a crackling fire, a cup being filled with hot coffee at the counter of a diner, dishes being washed by hand in a sink, a door creaking on its hinges ... they all nestle in the cradle of your ear and make you remember. Or at least think that you do.

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