Most people consider Robert Frank’s The Americans one of the most important books of photography ever published. (Granted, it took a while for it to take off. In the May 1960 issue of Popular Photography magazine, an editor referred to the game-changing work as “a sad poem for sick people.”) Now, more than 50 years after the Swiss-born photographer shot his iconic images, they’re getting a rather unlikely makeover thanks to Canadian artist Andrew Emond. For his Sounds of the Americans project, Emond uses specialized software to convert the classic black and white photos into audio files that are then fed through a spectrograph to recreate the original image. Confused?
“The level of degradation varies depending on how the sound gets interpreted by the software,” Emond explains. “The result is a type of image that is both familiar and yet no longer photographic in its nature… While many of their details have become obscured to the point of being lost, the layer of audio allows the viewer/listener to experience the images in an entirely new manner, perhaps leading to different interpretations and unintended meanings.” Check out an example featuring one of Frank’s most famous pics below, and then head over to the project’s website to view all 83 re-created photographs.