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Music, Nature, & Creativity

For me, music has been embedded in my life since an early age. With parents who built their careers through each other’s musical talents, known as the award-winning musical duo Norris & James, I was inundated with music from past, present, and future (Dad/Gary James was an avid songwriter throughout his music career, creating originals as “Let Your Love Begin at Home,” “You and Me,” “The Daddy Song,” “For The Children,” “We Will Stand,” and “Travel On” - nearly all of which you can listen to at their website). Quite literally, the first few songs I can remember hearing in my life were Elvis Presley’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Louie Armstrong’s version of “What a Wonderful World,” and the childhood favorite: *NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

That being said, with the onset of the summer breeze and clear skies, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time outdoors recently. As I walked down memory lane, gazing at the serene scene in front of me (pictured below), I noticed my internal radio - the fun, little name I use to call the shuffled playlist of songs often running through my head - for a few moments. Noticing this made me think of the role of music in my photography process. As a personal preference, I don’t listen to music while shooting photographs; it affords me the opportunity to be mindful of my senses, listening and seeing the world around me. Still, I typically do listen to music regularly when editing photos, which, for me, enhances the sometimes tedious process of compiling, masking, and adjusting.

Lake Nockamixon | © 2022 Chris Fiegel | All rights reserved worldwide.

Side note: if you’re interested in more serene lake photos, be on the lookout for the full collection next week by following my Instagram (@chrisfiegel) or Facebook (@officialchrisfiegel) pages!

So, what’s this hullabaloo about music, nature, and photography all matter to you? Well, the presence of music in our lives and its interaction with the surrounding world and our crafts - whether crafts in photography, art, performance, business, science, engineering, or others - seems to ignite memories within us, allowing us to experience emotion, time, and thought differently. In the words of Michael Pickering and Emily Keightley in their book Photography, Music, and Memory (2015), “Photography appears to arrest time, whereas recorded music transcribes time in its sequential flow” (p. 34). They continue, stating that music and photography hold core relations to the way we remember our lives, which “may, at times, be found meaningful or given significance because of how they help us remember a particular situation or scene, a definite person or a general period, but their value and significance as vehicles or catalysts of memory also lies in the diverse ways in which they are, from a longer-term perspective, woven into the narratives we construct of the lives we have led, the narratives we share among the social groups we have been associated with, and the narratives that are assimilated into vernacular memory from across the varied range from local events to national and cross-national episodes and affairs” (p. 180).

Okay, okay… now coming back up for air after diving into the academic rabbit hole a bit, I'd suggest reading that last part of the book again. Would you agree that music plays a role in our creativity and memory? Whether music is your whole life or it is just a simple part of it, I’d encourage anyone to put on their favorite song today and notice the memories, feelings, and stories that it sparks within you. Similarly, when you find yourself surrounded in nature through its diversity of colors, I’d consider taking a moment to note the significance and value derived from your senses, embracing what they mean to you at that time and place.


A book repeat from the last blog, I would still recommend listening to/reading Bob Iger’s “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," whose profound insights on optimism, integrity, fairness, and passion through his expansive career are incredibly valuable, plus his stories about his time at Disney are too good to miss out on hearing/reading.

Whatever you’re facing in the coming weeks, try to be kind to yourself and others. In the words of Louie Armstrong, “And I think to myself…what a wonderful world.” Get outside, listen to some tunes, and get a photo or two of the moments that make you remember.

Until next time, thanks for your time today, and have a great one!

P.S. Each time I post, I am including a list of some of my creative role models, providing their links, so you, too, can see their amazing content and be inspired!

Check them out, and more to come! See you next time!

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