Imagine you could not only hear your favourite songs, but also see them as vivid colours.
Dublin-based artist Andrea Lambe has chromesthesia—sound-to-colour synesthesia—meaning her perception of auditory stimulus results in her experiencing colours too.
“As a child I used to paint a lot,” she says, “Now I live for travelling. I love cityscapes and landscapes—the shapes they take reminds me of the shape of some melodies.” She takes photographs during her travels, which blend what she sees in front of her with the colours that music enables her to see in her mind. Her colourful series Synesthetic Landscapes is an ongoing project which she shares with on Instagram.
“We—my lovely boyfriend and I—were listening to music as we drove up and down the west coast of Ireland,” says Lambe on the inspiration behind this series, “the area is mesmerisingly beautiful. There’s something about the light in the Dingle Peninsula, where I took the photo captioned ‘Show Me Slowly…’ My boyfriend played me new tunes—his own and from artists whose work I wasn’t familiar with. It was an inspirational period—I wanted to convey that by capturing the light and the ambient feeling of those places we passed through.”
“Music is so important,” emphasises the photographer, who is also a musician, “music resonates so deeply with me, as with mostly everybody. I’m a singer more than anything. I’ve been playing piano by ear since I was about four or five, and I picked up a guitar after seeing The Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth when I was 15 or so. In recent years, I’ve fallen in love with analog synthesisers.”
Lambe continues to listens to music while editing: “sometimes an idea will just drip into my mind,” she says, “a melody will illicit some colours or shapes, I’ll get an idea for a photo and edit it like that. I didn’t realise that I could combine my passion for music and my love of photography like this, especially with colour.”
She shoots with film and digital. “I love light-leaks and lomography with a taped-up Holga,” she says, “I also use a lot of mixed media and various apps.” Her photographs undergo some post-processing, which she uses to manipulate colour, highlights and shadows to emulate how she experiences the world.
“I was in a very good place when I took these photos, I felt so peaceful and happy and energetic,” she reflects, “I wanted to go wild with colour and imagination. The scenery was beautiful and I felt free.”
All images © Andrea Lambe