This post is an update on what I’ve been working on. Aside from mapping out ideas through a sketchbook, I’ve been pulling my sources of archived images and combining them with new images in an effort to composite more final pieces. I’ve learned a lot with my readings, but translating these ideas in image form has not been as concrete as I would have liked. Many of these abstract concepts are difficult to get my head around, let alone clearly illustrate. At the moment of this writing, I’ve mapped out 125 sketches which will be used for future composites and graphic symbolic overlays that I understand so far. These sketches all come from the same text I’ve been reading all semester, Lectures on Ancient Philosophy.
What I have in this post is more or less a sketchbook in the form of “finished” works that don’t seem to have a home just yet in any particular series. I’ll start out with what I’ve been discussing with my professors Christine Ridgway and Morgan Barrie for awhile now about the working series (as of this writing) Hierarchies of Thought. The title of this series comes from the system of Hermeticism (aka high magic and alchemy) which was allegedly transcribed by Hermes Trismegistus. Entire books have been written about this person, who may be a representation of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. “As Above, So Below” basically theorizes that man is the counterpart of God on earth; as God is man’s counterpart in heaven. Therefore, it is a statement of an ancient belief that man’s actions on earth parallel the actions of God in heaven. This hermetic axiom has been summarized by many to hold the key to all mysteries…
Building upon this series, I decided (with the guidance of my professors) to invoke modern-day corporate logos within these circular images. This idea, as noted, will build a stronger connection to audiences who know more about corporate logos than they do ancient symbols, such as the Mesopotamian symbol for god I used in the past for this series.
The following image is similar but uses an actual light source to house the symbol of the cross, which is probably about the universal symbol anyone can find to mean just about anything relating to the constellations, seasons, the four directions, and of course religious symbolism. I titled this photography “Cross in the Circle of the Absolute” because there is no definite definition of this symbol, as it’s used for many many things with no clear group inventing it. That being said, I decided to reference it in a way that looked holy or at least more important than it really is.
Other images I’ve been working on build upon ideas I’ve been reading about like the “trinity” three-level system or hierarchy I’ve been building upon in my series States of Being.
The road or river in the next two images, in essence, symbolizes a pathway to an alternate level of consciousness. Each image has a character navigating indirectly the path set forth. The message is that often the most direct path isn’t the path some choose to take or were designed to.
After reading so much about materialism in Lectures on Ancient Philosophy and what it leads to I pulled up some images I took last year when it flooded in Dearborn, MI where many had no choice but to thrown out many of their earthly possessions… which inevitably would have been thrown out eventually anyway. This image was made by having a friend pull up and shine his headlights on all the garbage waiting to be picked up and carried away.
I worked up a couple of images I shot this winter, with the thought of my readings in the back of my mind. These were both shot within the same hour and I found it interesting just after I took the first image below of the church and graveyard reflected in the snow I happened to be next to an accident where firetrucks and police were investigating. At the time of this writing, I’m not sure where these images will eventually end up in my portfolios.
Finally, I decided to step things back up and get back into compositing. Some of these may need to be re-worked, but here they are in the moment of this writing.
This image, to me, represents ancient belief systems being worshipped by tourists, or people who don’t understand half of what they are actually witnessing. The two statues were shot in Athens, Greece in 2012 and they were composited with the crowd in a picture of the sanctuary of the abandoned St. Agnes church in Detroit.
This image symbolizes life and light inside or within the city. It’s a very experimental work I had fun putting together.
This image references people’s use of calling God when it’s convenient, as the phone booth represents inside the Knights Templar Cathedral of the Masonic Temple of Detroit.
In conclusion, this post has a lot of ideas somewhat connected. Like I opened up with, more images will be following sketches I made from my readings with a specific intent in mind.