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This blog is intended to showcase my pictures or those of other photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment - photography that aims at being true, not at being beautiful because what is true is most often beautiful..

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« ku # 1232 ~ explanation entry, Part 3 - an observed lacuna is generating an ambiguity | Main | civilized ku # 2477 ~ wherein I make a picture in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned »

civilized ku # 2478 / ku # 1231 ~ rhopographer or megalographer - which are you?

Rhopograghy(?) ~ Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Megalography(?) ~ Lower Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Over the past few entries, you may noticed that I have been somewhat preoccupied with artspeak. Perhaps, on my part, it is just that I have been sucked into a weird vortex which has drawn me into its arcane and obtuse universe. That must be so because I'm really not considering the adaptation of artspeak into my linguistic repertoire.

However, that written, as I perusing an all-things-photography academic forum, I came across an article - If not now when: beyond indexical transparency On Still lifes Photographs - which led me to the notion of rhopography. Technically, rhopography is a name applied to still life painting / photographs. However, despite that specific nomenclature, I have no trouble relating to it as a more broad descriptor for the type of pictures I am most inclined to create ....

Rhopography relates to the portrayal of objects which lack immediate significance - the basic mundane objects that surround us in our daily environments. In contrast to Megalography, which relates to the depiction of ‘importance’ and themes in the world which represent greatness, the humbleness of rhopography, has in fact a profound depth as it explores the base human existential dilemma at its core by stripping it of all garnishes of grandeur or self importance. In this fashion a sharp contrast or transformation occurs as objects which are usually taken for granted, in this context, are linked to much more refined and exalted existential issues – namely, the limited scope the individual human endeavor. We can argue that rhopography is the ontological raison d'être of still lifes both in painting and photography.

Artspeak aside, I am pleased as punch to realize that my picture making has and is driven by an ontological raison d'être. Maybe I should consider dropping the idea of picture maker as a self-descriptor and get on with labeling myself as a rhopographer.

Reader Comments (2)

"ontological raison d'être" - what does that mean, "reason for the existence of its existence"? You might be right about the vortex :)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Nilsson

Before you disappear completely down that vortex, when is part 3 of the "picture windows explanation" coming?

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSven W

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