Art of Observation, Week Two

After an inspiring and productive first week, I began the second week of my class while in Maui. The theme for the second week was auditory observation, using sound/music as inspiration. This week was loaded with assignments and materials to review: videos on how to be an effective listener, about how sound is something more than just what we hear using our ears--it is also something we feel and experience with many parts of our bodies. We were asked to choose a film that was accompanied by an Academy Award-winning score (I chose Gravity from the short list of films) and review the movie while being mindful of the score and its impact on the film's viewer. Then, we were allowed to choose one of two Brahms pieces to listen to and draw inspiration from for our work this week. I first listened to this piece:


When listening to this piece, I kept imagining a mother; in the beginning, there is a single melody as she rises to greet the day. One by one, other instruments begin to play harmonizing melodies, as if her children and husband were awakening and join her in her day. Tension begins to build as the chaos of the day swells to crescendo, but suddenly, a moment of somber sweetness as she says her farewells. The entire piece continues to cycle through moments of joy, chaos, frenetic paces and slow, sweet lulls, just as a mother's day is interspersed with busy moments, boo boos to kiss, arguments to referee, a times of rushing from place to place. This was the photograph I captured. I intentionally used a slow shutter speed to introduce movement and tried to capture the happy chaos that is motherhood.

I like this photograph, but I regret that the window frame runs through the heads of two of the subjects. As this was taken via remote shooting app during a spontaneous tickle fight, it was impossible to account for this. However, I do feel it captures the sweet-yet-chaotic mornings in our home.

I decided to give it another go. For my final assignment, I was drawn to creating an image from this piece:


When listening to this piece, I heard the sounds of romance. In the beginning, it is a new, shy, sweet attraction that begins to sweep with love and passion. The emotion builds, as well as the tension, and there is a climactic moment of an argument, a lover's spat, followed by the halting resolution and then forgiveness. The music returns to sweetness, repeating this cycle of love/tension/conflict and resolution, but then moves into a time of steady sweetness. It is the "middle age" of these lovers' life--the music has an almost heartbeat-like quality, and it steadily continues, with small rises and falls, before sweeping into a climactic moment of tension. This is followed by a prolonged, mournful section, before repeating the earlier cycles of happiness and sadness before settling into a quiet, but final, conclusion.

I would have liked to have created a storyboard of images for this piece (which I still may do), but spare time was a major factor this week, so I decided instead to capture a single image of love and romance inspired by the piece. What I ended up with was two images that I loved for different reasons, but that both captured this feeling of love and romance.

Next week is a break week in the course, which I desperately need to let my brain absorb everything I've consumed in the past two weeks. I'm loving this course, though, and am excited to get back to things in a couple of weeks.

(Click here to read about the first week of my Art of Observation class. Or, if you'd like to learn how you can take a course like this, complete with instructor feedback and critique, in an online forum, click here to learn about Clickin Moms).