Of Brass, Wood & Strings

On the Quantum Vastness Within Musical Instruments

Of Brass, Wood & Strings

I stumbled onto the work of photographer Charles Brooks and automatically knew there was something there. Brooks captured the inside of musical instruments and revealed what seems to me like a whole world. A world that is both new, yet has always been right there.

Here's Brooks on his Architecture of Music Series:

"By combing hundreds of shots with varying focus I make sure that the entire instrument is sharp from front to back. This gives the illusion of space, tricking the mind into believing that it's seeing an expansive chamber you could walk through. It is the opposite of the tilt-shift-miniature effect that makes large objects look small by selectively blurring parts of the photo."
—Charles Brooks
1940s Selmer Balanced Action Saxophone

Somehow, I know this connects to principles of quantum physics (which I'm just starting to learn about). I'm so fascinated by this concept that, at every moment, immense amouts of quantum activity is happening within us, within our atoms, and those of the objects that surround us.

Lockey Hill Cello Circa 1780

Potentially, whole universes, just as vast as the one we're spending billions trying to explore, exist on an impossibly macro scale within all. Brooks' work reveals one level of that; how when you (properly) look inside an instrument of music, a whole new scale of architectural space appears.

Now, I know none of these universe-inside-atom theories have been proven —not that we're the ones who can prove them— but the mindset this encourages us to enter is what keeps me going. Jumping from a micro perspective to a macro one, looking away from our screens, considering our individual lifetime on the scale of that of humanity, what better way to think?

Fazioli Grand Piano Part 1

Everything in life is about scale. Proportion. Circumstances of our life may feel rough when we're stuck in our routine and for example, work is all that we can see. But when we take some distance and look at the stars and ponder the vastness of the universe, all of a sudden, nothing feels relevant, and in the best possible way. (But then again, we're stuck in systemic loops we can barely do anything about, so there's only so much balming the night sky can do to the wounds of our life.)

And on the flipside of that proportion, the state of civilization as a whole sure looks dire when you keep up with the pandemic and the war and inflation. But if you zoom in, there's so much grace and beauty and kindness and love to be found on the human scales of relationships, community and family.

Everything is relative.

We need, at every moment, both the tiny and the vast to get by.

Musical instrument photo by Maria Cappelli on Unsplash
Architecture photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash