I've been working very closely with a number of texts by and on Martin Heidegger for about a year. The side effect of that is, yet again, my realization that I cannot stop illustrating him, specifically the concept of the Abandonment (Seinverlassenheit) by and the Oblivion (Seinsvergessenheit) of Being.

In Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event), he writes:

The abandonment by Being is cloaked in the increasing authority of calculation, speed, and the claim of the massive.

I'm also unsure as to why I don't engage in creating such photo illustrations more often. After all, I like the end result quite a bit. I suspect that it's my perfectionism: at times, adding effects to a photograph that I shot is simpler than actually setting up and shooting it. It's as if I feel that artistic pursuits must always contain excessive toil and torment, especially traditional art (e.g., drawing), and that enjoyment must come only in the end as a result of producing something worthwhile.

In a way, this is a productivist attitude that I cannot seem to shake off: I create these for myself, and I enjoy the process; therefore, this cannot happen! ;)

On Production and Creation

In 1844, Richard Wagner wrote:

"Each man must please himself, and nature has placed her approbation on this by supplying the greatest pleasure men ever know as a reward for doing good work. I hate this fast-growing tendency to chain men to machines in big factories and deprive them of all joy in their effortsthe plan will lead to cheap men and cheap products. I set my face against it and plead for the dignity and health of the open air, and the olden time."

(Sourced from Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Musicians by Elbert Hubbard, 1916)

Valkyrie. Photo illustration.

Et in Arcadia Ego (Triptych Photo Illustration)

Finally, I've selected three components for my photographic illustration, Et in Arcadia Ego, individual images from which appeared here earlier.

Thematically, I've always been drawn to variations of memento mori, especially in the Baroque era, whether in the form of vanitas still-life paintings or Et in Arcadia Ego landscapes. After all, they stand as a reminder of life's brevity and mutability, Nature's cycles, the highest and the lowest points on the Wheel of Fortune.

That said, I've never particularly liked Nicholas Poussin's most obvious exemplar, which depicts shepherds finding a tomb, i.e., evidence of Death, even in a place like Arcadia, a kind of an earthly paradise. 

Yet, despite the radically different approach I've selected for my take on this subject,  there are some parallels.

I've shot these images in the Rocky Mountains, their pristine northern landscapes and small towns--not unlike the Hellenic Arcadia. Indeed, it is because I'm underscoring an analogy between the two that I've chosen to use animal bones found here in the wild rather than something akin to a tomb. 

The Classical sculptures are reminiscent of Poussin's shepherds of Antiquity. The latter being inanimate create a different kind of contrast to the bones, non-living versus the dead, visually emphasized through the usage of a shallow depth of field and consequent blurring of the former.

I welcome feedback from those with an interest in similar subjects and/or aesthetics.

Raven Ravenson and the Crescent Moon

My purpose here was to create a simple, heavily stylized illustration in the realm of Slavic mythology--as if for a children's book--using natural materials, in this case, wood, golden buttons (tansy), and tea leaves. 

This illustration features, you guessed it!, two of my favorite characters  as part of a recurrent motif.

Raven Ravenson and the Crescent Moon--they meet again! 

Slightly modifying a particular tale from Slavic folklore, we have:

Simargl, having lost his first-born, died of grief, his heart aching like that of a wounded bird. And he turned into a black Raven Ravenson known as the Iron Beak. And he took off and landed atop the Crescent Moon made of copper. And he began to oversee human affairs, becoming a god.


Whenever I create images out of natural materials, photography is as important as the original. You can see the difference between the pictures above and below: the latter was shot outside, with sunbeams lighting the tansy Moon as if it were its real equivalent up above.  


Getting some corn from a local organic farm the other day, I--once again--realized just how anthropomorphic this grain is.

So I used photography with a few digital effects, splicing gaming or comic-book imagery and Slavic folklore. 

The modernized result is this illustration of a domovoi, a Russian (Slavic) house spirit. This bearded creature is sometimes helpful, yet also quite the trickster.

Don't anger it.

Russian Sphinx

Alexander Blok's Scythians (1918) is, or should be, the single most precise ideological poem for any Russian. In the century since its creation, its significance has grown, and as of late, it's left me particularly restless. 

The photograph below is meant to illustration the following excerpt, in which the poet addresses Europe: 

O Ancient World, before your culture dies,
Whilst failing life within you breathes and sinks,
Pause and be wise, as Oedipus was wise,
And solve the age-old riddle of the Sphinx.


That Sphinx is Russia. Grieving and exulting,
And weeping black and bloody tears enough,
She stares at you, adoring and insulting,
With love that turns to hate, and hate—to love.
(Tr. Alex Miller)
О старый мир! Пока ты не погиб,
Пока томишься мукой сладкой,
Остановись, премудрый, как Эдип,
Пред Сфинксом с древнею загадкой!


Россия - Сфинкс! Ликуя и скорбя,
И обливаясь черной кровью,
Она глядит, глядит, глядит в тебя
И с ненавистью, и с любовью! 
(Александр Блок, СКИФЫ)