Photographer composes music to accompany prints

June 2018 issue

© Ralph Gibson


If a photograph had a melody, what would it be?

Renowned art photographer Ralph Gibson wrestled with the answer to that question for his project recently exhibited at Galerie Thierry Bigaignon in Paris. Gibson, who characterizes himself as a career photographer and “passionately devoted amateur” musician, composed 15 pieces of music to accompany 15 of his silver gelatin prints. To listen to each piece, visitors simply held up their mobile device camera to a QR code placed near the photo, and the music instantly began streaming onto their device.

“I’ve been a musician all my life,” says Gibson, who began playing music at 13 and making photos at 17. “I’ve always wanted to know what the relationship between music and photography is for me.” He only performs his music in public once or twice a year and always in conjunction with his photography.

“Visual inspiration is completely different from acoustic inspiration,” he says of the two art forms. “But sometimes the results are remarkably similar. When people say, Your music sounds like your photography, it obviously gives me a great deal of pleasure.”

Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.

Tags: black & white photographyfine art photography

Recommended for You

Trending Content