Sara Naim photographs milk as it vibrates to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

sara naim photography

Sara Naim is a Brooklyn-based photographer. After graduating from the London College of Communication with a B.A. in Photography in 2010, she went to intern at Ryan McGinley’s studio in New York. Her work has most recently been shown at the Photokina fair in Cologne, Germany and The Third Line gallery in Dubai. Of this series, ‘Beethoven-Moonlight Sonata’ she writes, ‘This body of work looks at translating sound into a photographic image. Ludwig Van Beethoven’s symphony vibrates through milk. He composed this piece in the early 1800’s for his blind pupil and lover, Giuletta Gucciardi. Gucciardi said to Beethoven that she wished she could see the moonlight. Beethoven then composed a piece about the moonlight’s reflection off Austria’s Lake Lucerne, called Moonlight Sonata’.

sara naim photography

sara naim photography

sara naim photography

sara naim photography

Via Beautiful Decay

  • Tru

    The photos are very interesting, but I think the business about Beethoven having composed the Moonlight Sonata for a blind lover who wished she could see the moonlight is a romantic contrivance. From what information I can find, while the sonata was composed in 1801, Beethoven called it Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor “Quasi una fantasia.” It didn’t get the nickname “Moonlight” until 1832, and that came from Ludwig Rellstab, who then said it put him in mind of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Also, I don’t see anything to suggest that Giulietta Gucciardi was anything more for Beethoven than maybe an unrequited crush, not someone with whom he had a mutual romantic or sexual relationship. Scholars seem to believe “Moonlight” to have been inspired by sitting at the bedside of a dying friend, not the wish of a lover. Looks as if the story of Beethoven composing the music for a blind lover who “wished to see the moonlight” is a lush romantic fabrication by the photographer designed to publicize photos in which she attempts to “help people see music.” The photos really don’t need it, though; they’re interesting in and of themselves. Or is it that nothing sells on the Internet nowadays without a romantic story thrown in? I noticed this “blind lover” meme has multiplied and grown since these photos were published; links to it are everywhere. Seems like a good example of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story.

  • Awesome!

  • Marc

    Tru.. i don’t think you’re understanding the metaphor..

  • Lee

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments Tru.

    Marc – what metaphor would that be? One which acts as a vehicle to project syrupy sentimentality; historical misconceptions wrought purposely to an end effect? If one is blind to the facts surrounding the genesis of Beethoven’s sonata then yes, the “aural” photographs do make a powerful, emotionally charged statement…

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!