The Gourmand: A contemporary food, arts and culture journal
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Synaesthetic Family Portrait

  • Carrot Cake, Unsalted Butter & Finger Nails  - Synaesthetic Family Portrait - The Gourmand
    Carrot Cake, Unsalted Butter & Finger Nails
  • Carrot Cake, Unsalted Butter, Finger Nails & Icing on a Cupcake - Synaesthetic Family Portrait - The Gourmand
    Carrot Cake, Unsalted Butter, Finger Nails & Icing on a Cupcake

Synaesthetic Family Portrait

According to the UK Synaesthesia Association, Synaesthesia, in its simplest form, is best described as a 'union of the senses' whereby two or more of the five senses that are normally experienced separately are involuntarily and automatically joined together. Some synaesthetes experience colour when they hear sounds or read words. Others experience tastes, smells, shapes or touches in almost any combination.

 

This project by photographer Dominic Davies emerged from conversations with Gustatory/Auditory Synaesthete, James Wannerton. James had been the inspiration for previous projects and his particular form of Synaesthesia means he gets an involuntary taste association from whatever he hears or reads.  

 

Once you have an understanding of James' condition, it’s hard not to ask what taste 'you' or at least your name elicits. He revealed that I tasted of ‘carrot cake with a slight essence of plastic’; my wife Floury is unsalted butter, and my son Milo tastes of finger nails. These apparently random objects became the subjects of my first Synaesthetic Family Portrait composed around the tongue. The arrival of our daughter Inez (the icing on a cupcake) shortly after made me return to the project. The setting for the second portrait was inspired by images of Anechoic Chambers, a space where sound is isolated and precisely measured.