The Star Diagram provided me with a means of making sense of how I might move away from the world of sensory perception to capturing reality using the camera’s unique properties of reducing space and freezing time. At this time, I was looking for ways to catch the “unnameable glimmer” that Derrida had written about. In my research questions, aim and objectives I had set myself a task to capture something that was not accessible according to Kant but according to Harman was accessible through allusion.
At the end of my PhD, I recorded that the Star Diagram, based on the ontology of Harman, and informed by Heidegger and Ortega, had served to formalise aspects of my photographic practice. It had also provided me with a methodological framework for selecting the personal and photographic methods that were later realised in the Onion Diagram. The Star Diagram provided a bridge between Speculative Realism and my epistemology of the BAR Diagram – Reflecting on Being, Reflecting on Action and Reflecting on Being and Action. However, moving forward my (perhaps) slavish commitment to Harman reduced, particularly in relation to his rather paradoxical idea that “objects touch without touching” (Harman 2012 p204). What he spoke about as “vicarious causation” was not what I was encountering in the field and that Being far from being singular was also deeply plural. As confidence in my practice and research developed I left Ryan behind. I began to pursue my own practical and academic path towards Object-Oriented Photography.
At the time of my upgrade to PhD, I wrote four posts in my Critical Research Journal about Ryan’s strategies as follows:
Thought Piece 13 – Strategies for Approaching the Essence in Object-Oriented Photography
Thought Piece 14 – Fracture in Object-Oriented Photography
Thought Piece 15 – Reduction in Object-Oriented Photography
Thought Piece 16 – Metaphor in Object-Oriented Photography
In the early days of Year 2, I experienced Fracture first-hand. Broadford Forest where I had spent much of my first year was felled and a new emerging reality hung over the site. It took time for me to process what had happened but as I made sense of what I now saw, I realised that a hitherto hidden aspect of the forest’s reality emerged. Rather than a vibrant and inviting forest where trees supported each other in finding light and communicating with each other, the scene now lay bare. The topography was much more in evidence as the rise and fall of the land became more significant than I had realised previously. Those trees that remained, appeared vulnerable without the support of others. The storms in early January 2022 put paid to those that remained while the trees that had been felled were stacked high, ready to make their way to be made into paper. I wrote about my experiences in the following posts:
Notes and Images from a Small Island (Practice Period 8 Day 1) https://www.wildreflections.photography/uncategorised/among-trees-but-there-are-no-trees
In the conclusion to the post, and as I surveyed the scene in Broadford Forest, I realised that fracture is able to reveal the essence of a landscape. At the time I wrote:
“Death fractures presence, and in that moment of Being shed the constraints of time and space. And in its passing, we catch a glimpse of the reality of threes that were, and their relationships with one another and us . . .”
Notes and Images from a Small Island (Practice 8 Day 4)
Critical Reflection and Review of Practice (Practice Period 8 Week 1 January 2022)
While, up until this point I had struggled with the concept of fracture in my photographic practice, this brutal yet necessary change in the landscape had laid bare a hidden aspect of its reality through its loss. As Heidegger had observed, the hammer when broken, presents a new reality that focuses on what it is made of and how the materials are constituted, rather than its use as a tool.
Ryan, R. J. (2019). Intuition, Expertise and Judgement in the Assessment of Photographic Images. School of Business and the School of Art. Cheltenham, University of Gloucestershire. PhD: 492.
Harman, G. (2012). Vicarious Causation. Collapse – Philosophical Research and Development, Vol II. R. Mackay. Cambridge, Urbanomic.