In my Upgrade Document I refer to Ryan’s PhD Thesis (2019) as providing a starting point for working through the strategies I might use in my photographic practice to increase the potential to capture essence, which Ryan regards as the ‘more than’, the +es, that differentiates any object from the sum of its parts.  These ideas were further developed in an unpublished joint paper into the five strategies below having revised the previously named ‘mindfulness’ to ‘attenuation’ (Ryan 2021).  It is my intention to produce a series of Thought Pieces that start to develop my ideas relating to each point of the star.

Exhibit 1 Strategies for approaching the Essence (adapted from Ryan (2019)

Ryan argues that searching for a glimpse of the noumena can sometimes be achieved through altering states of awareness through activation (such as the use of music in the field and during post-processing) and by the attenuation of conscious awareness (providing conditions where the essence might emerge when attention to the object is averted).  In addition, he refers to strategies of metaphor, reduction and fracture, referencing the philosophies of Harman (2018), Husserl (1962) and Heidegger (1953) respectively.  During my first year of photographic practice, I have experimented with these approaches to a varying degree – metaphor and reduction being a significant aspect of my work whereas fracture is an idea to explore more deeply.  Similarly, while endeavouring to attenuate my conscious mind during my practice has been a significant part of Year 1 practice, activation is not something I have consistently applied.

I plan to write further blogs about each of these aspects of my practice over the next few days.



Harman, G. (2018). Object-Oriented Ontology – A New Theory of Everything. Milton Keynes, Pelican Books.

Heidegger, M. (1953). Being and Time. New York, State University of New York Press.

Husserl, E. (1962). Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. New York, Collier Books.

Ryan, R., Price, A B J (2021). Object Oriented Photography – a Speculative Essay on the Photography of Essence.

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.


Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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