So, there’s this idea that if you play music to plants, the sound vibrations make them flourish, but what if we could also hear the music of the plants themselves?
You can. Here. A sonic and visual creation from the creative minds of Palmerston North synth musician James Lissette and Whanganui synth musician Rob Tyler – supported by a few moving images from me as I wander about foraging beauty...
Video Credit | David Lupton @haunuidozine
Music Credits | Sound of plants: Rob Tyler @mortalthree | Sampling and mixing: James Lissette @jamlissette
How did we make this?
I headed out and took some video of plants near to me, Rob captured and supplied the sound of plants near to him and James layered the two together and added other elements of nature to it. I shot the flowers in my small, suburban, Palmerston North garden. I looked at how the gentle, morning breeze swayed the flowers – they went from being near-still to moving as the breeze picked up – and I wanted to see what this looked like on video. Not being a videographer, I was curious about how you start adding movement to still image compositions - spreading out both time and story and still have it make sense!
James and Rob add their thoughts on our creative process below:
“I hear the sounds of the world in colour and musical form. My reaction to the video was found in Rob’s music. I blended in the bird song and the wind that I could hear. Living things all sing a song.”
“Taking specialist hardware that measures and translates the bio- feedback / bio-emissions, or plant consciousness as I have become to know it, into a voltage that I can then use to spread, mix and mingle within the eco-system of modular synthesis to...alter sound... modulate parameters...allow events and entice reactions.
Giving the plant...a voice...a language, one that is universal...that of sound. I, through many hours of experimentation, meditation, an open-minded approach, have become to know a direct correlation between my energetic presence, both in physical proximity, (direct and indirect) and thought. Conscious connection and communication, and that of the plants response - as they truly do speak. Thought provoking... and indeed, awe inspiring!”
Thanks to these two epic local musos - my backyard plants have come alive in digital form. #BeFlorageous my friends! Where can you forage beauty this summer? Lie back and see if you can hear the plants sing.
And... if you need some foraging inspiration - look below...
David shares a little of the magic he employed when photographing our latest collaboration with local Manawatū florist, Jill Titter: Floraged.
It's a DoZine (a do-what? a hand-crafted e-magazine that inspires you to get out and 'do' stuff!)
The first act of foraging beauty is the act of seeing, seeing what you want to create with your mind’s eye – something we creatives take for granted. The act of photographing the art of foraging flowers (aka floraging), that I have just completed for my friend Jill in our first Floraged DoZine, becomes an exercise in turning this mind-seeing into a tangible reality. A reality that we give back to ourselves and in turn others via our creations.
To photograph ‘Floraged’ I needed to look through the eyes of our flower-wrangler, Jill Titter, who is a seer of forgotten plants, and through the eyes of Bettina Anderson, our weaver of words; and be the backdrop for the newly-found beauty they create together.
In the same way that Jill crafts her magical found-floral arrangements from what is around her, I photograph the dancing of light, the colour, the mystery, the imperfectness and rightness (perfection can be such a crippling word for creators!!!), along with the obvious and the ‘less so’ – all with the aim of trying to sparkle the imagination of the viewer.
I like to keep things simple. I use a lens that sees about the same angle as my eyes (a 50mm), and a 90mm macro lens that allows me to move in close and isolate the special things that I see. Sometimes I use a 100 - 400mm zoom at the 400mm end to stand back and layer up the image and, if I have done my job right, you will not notice which lens I used!
I use natural light, wandering around the subject looking for the right convergence between the light, the subject, the colour, and time.
I often seek out the grey, drab days to shoot, sometimes rain-soaked (my camera is weatherproof… and I use a plastic bag and rubber bands if it gets a little heavy!), as they often have beautiful light. Perfect light, golden and glorious, is a bit of a one-trick pony, a subtle trap. Whereas exploring the darkness is a playground for discovery… just like the act of floraging is!
I'm quite happy to blur things up a little in order to make painterly backgrounds for our word pictures… sharpness can be overrated! Blurry-beautiful is just as gorgeous as sharp-focused - it’s feeling the idea that matters most.
I try and take simple images, so they illustrate ideas easily. I see my job as being to make my co-creators look cool, illustrating with feeling and a little fun their ideas.
Sometimes I make something a little more painterly - just to bring focus to the subject and to the viewers’ mind’s-eye.
Did I say I like to keep everything simple? I don’t want to be burdened by equipment, just the weight of ideas and feelings as they are hard enough to carry and rediscover into something tangible.
My digital darkroom is a place where I do as little to the image as possible, just tweak here and there to lift life into that which was in front of my eyes from a flat, RAW camera file.
I live for the happy accidents - the more I practice the more I have!
I look with the corners of my eyes, waiting for that glimpse of recognition and turn my camera on to that. Sometimes, in a full-frontal view it can be a little hard to filter out the ‘spectacular’ from the ‘simple’ – the raw beauty of the quiet.
I don’t care about cameras, as long as the one in my hand makes me happy, we get along, and it doesn’t fight me…that’s what I care about and that’s the one I use!
And finally, I practice a lot – both looking and photographing. I make lots of mistakes and I never overlook them, because they too can be surprisingly beautiful.
#BeFlorageous my friends!
Photography, like so many things in life, has a whole lot of BS stuck to to it. The reality is it's all about you and the thing you wrap in light and snatch from your time line - what you see, feel, think, identify with, its all about the creative not the camera. All cameras are equal in the creative process - nothing more than a photon-holding paintbrush. They all offer something a little different, yet their purpose is the same, to enable creativity.
So you want to buy a camera? Firstly, get the one that feels great in your hand, if you cannot relate to it you will not create with it.
DON’T buy a brand, buy a camera that you enjoy that brings you pleasure, one you can have a relationship with. It needs to be something that enables you and does what you want. It has to have what you need to have that 'dance with light'. Get a camera that you want to pick up and use, something that lights your fire not puts it out (because it has too many or too little megapixels, is big and heavy, looks ugly or is overly complicated to use). Never buy a camera or lens without first spending time with it. Heck, human relationships are founded on hanging out and getting close…so getting to know and choosing your creative tools is no different.
If you want to burn a lot of money spend it on lenses (even my iPod has an extra clip-on lens or three). Cameras come and go, lenses you will keep and shift from camera to camera. If you use or buy mirrorless cameras you can even use different brand lenses on cameras not intended for them by making use of adapters.
If you really want to spend money wisely, hang out at the library or buy books, lots of books, not on photography, but books by photographers on what they have done and learn to read what they have written with light. Learn to read photographs.
Where you start your photographic journey will not be where you end up, don't try and be great to begin with, just work on growing . Become visually greedy, look like you never have looked before. Photograph things to see what they look like, explore light at all times of the day and night. There are NO rules just journeys, get caught up in seeing, be captivated by light then subject.
Photo software is not your camera so don't be seduced by it, don't let it be your camera. Its SOUL purpose is to complete your seeing…and your camera's SOUL purpose is to capture what you see. The problem with photography is that it's become 'all about the gear'. Get over it. It ain't. It's all about you. You are the unique thing here for this moment in time, so bring what you see, who you are...and don't be generic (you know, lacking imagination or individuality, being predictable and unoriginal). Generic - make it a phase if you must, not an end.
Camera gear comes and goes, it just keeps getting better (that's technology for you). The real trick, like technology, is to keep getting better and above all, have fun. When your differences, your 'unique', embeds itself in your imagery, then it's called style and it's all yours!