The drivers for producing heuristics such as the Onion Diagram are to simplify an idea or concept that might take more words to explain. I am seeking to reduce my thinking to a manageable number of ideas, and the process of creating the visual is a means to reflect, develop and refine my ideas. I believe this is particularly important for those pursuing practice-led research where the ideas and concepts are borne out of their own individual artistic pursuits.
While some might call my Onion Diagram an attempt at creating structure in a complex world, and indeed a means to demonstrate power in some way, a criticism levied at structuralists, I would respond by saying that the ten drivers of my practice developed in the Onion Diagram are signifiers that are personal to me and my practice. The use of the term signifiers leaves the reader with options to interpret or defer to other signifiers that might better serve the articulation of their practice. The purpose of the heuristic is to seek to help others who might wish to follow a similar path of articulating their photographic drivers. The use of visual heuristics also serves to simplify and reduce the extent, level, and complexity of my ideas, or indeed those of others such as Graham Harman, to a manageable and comprehensible level. Sketching them out visually helps me develop my thinking too.
I do not like labels or any other attempt to categorise or compartmentalise my thinking or photographic work – it is individual. A similar view was taken by Derrida who refused to accept the label of post-modernism or post-anything throughout his life. Indeed, his son sought to clarify his position after his death by referring back to the fourteenth century and William of Ockham as his father’s inspiration and influence.
Ryan, R J & Price, A B J. (2022). Object-Oriented Photography – a Speculative Essay on the Photography of Essence.” Philosophy of Photography 12: 129-147.