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The sound of gratitude, Oxford

Sunrise tree in Oxford, UK
A tree at sunrise in the mist in Oxford, UK

Our Sound Photography project has now launched and is available to explore in full, so we’ll profile selected photographs and sound pieces on the site over the coming weeks.

If you’ll permit the indulgence, we’re beginning with a photograph and image pair created by Cities and Memory, with this image from our home city of Oxford, UK.

This is a photo taken from the window of a house I used to live in, at the crack of dawn one morning as the sun was bursting perfectly through the branches of a tree behind the house, with just enough mist to obscure everything else.

I can remember the feeling when I took this photograph was just one of gratitude at being able to see such a beautiful image on an average day outside my house.

In the sound piece based on the photograph, I wanted to convey that sense of gratitude through a combination of uplifting synth lines but also through words – so I invited contributors all over the world to send me recordings of themselves saying “thank you” in any language.

The results were overwhelming, with contributions coming through in Russian, Italian, Arabic, Finnish, French, German and many other languages – voices of adults, voices of children.

I wanted to cluster all of this gratitude together into one big swell of joy, representing in sound what this image means to me.

Photo sound: