Few of our senses exist in a vacuum. For me, music goes hand in hand with the memories our photos hold for us. What is this power that memory holds over us?
My life, probably much like yours, has a soundtrack. From week to week and month to month, some songs define who I am and what I’m doing. Right now it’s “Death as a Fetish” by Strfkr and “So Many Frequencies” by Midnight Juggernauts. Sometimes, especially when it’s a quiet time, it’s Boards of Canada. William Orbit has defined entire years for me.
As I’ve been going back and digitizing those moments in time I still have in print and negative, I find this music so easily coming back to me. It used to fill me with sadness, knowing that the sunsets and treescapes and immensity of nature I’ve captured on film would some day degrade. I hold these images so close to me, how could I let them die? We hear how old films degrade and need to be restored, and I knew my prints and negatives would someday fade.
Music can be the same way. Vinyl can be spoiled if not stored right. Tapes were never good for longevity, even if the mixtape was so iconic for so many of us. Like a stab at immortality, I try to make the beauty I see last forever. It’s the part of me that will live beyond me, along with the things I’ve used and maybe the people I’ve touched over the years. This is where the digital can save us analogues. We go out and live in that full spectrum, and the zeroes and ones hold it for us indefinitely.
Sitting in my guest bedroom, flipping through a basket of old photos in the middle of the night, I had song after song floating through my head. It’s a warm feeling, flipping through these prints, a kind of wholeness that so few other things can lend us. It’s even warmer with my favorite tunes coming from the stereo. Here’s a shot of misty North Vancouver, on my birthday, a track from an Underworld EP I bought a few hours earlier at the Virgin Megastore in my head. The fog turning to clouds, obscuring all but the base of the mountains to the north, combined with the amazing sophistication and lush greenery of the city of Vancouver, fit with the remixed tones of one of my favorite songs. One shot of green and grey and strangers crossing a bridge brings those notes right back in an instant.
As I upload my photos, I try to include the songs with the most vivid music in their descriptions. I’m also using the tag “soundtrack” to collect these photos all in one place. Please feel free to do the same with yours. Let’s see not only what we’re doing, but what we’re hearing along the way.
Words and photos by Kevin Hodur. Previously calling suburban Chicago and Portland home, Kevin now lives and works as a writer on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Catch more editions of The Road Rarely Traveled with next month’s Tundra Adventures, a collection of photos captured out in our amazing winter landscape.