The digital sublime refers to digital composite photography that presents “the existence of something unpresentable” (Lyotard, cited in Linn, 1996, p. 97) and that renders a matchless look—a sophisticated fabrication, a perfect and clean composition, a maximum color saturation, a multiple point perspective, and stunning or new-fangled content (Foster et al., 2004; Lipkin, 2005; Marien, 2002; Ohlin, 2002). Dissatisfied with the representation of the outer world that can be easily accomplished by pressing a single shutter button, photographers who painstakingly synthesize images together to create the digital sublime seem to be compelled to create personal versions of the world, which may be closer to the beliefs through which they interpret and interact with the world. To gain a better understanding of these photographers’ digital sublime photographs, I propose that we investigate the artist’s views of reality by asking, “What is your definition of reality?” and “How do you visualize your reality in your digital composite?” This paper cites contemporary photographer Carrie Notari’s project, Mythic, as an example. From the analysis of Notari’s views of reality, the “unpresentable” substance that Notari’s photographs try to present reflects her view on, and visualization of, myths that exist in the collective unconscious. This study has implications for how digital sublime photographs can be studied and taught.
|Keywords:||Digital Photography, Reality, Knowledge|
Assistant Professor, Department of Media Communication and Technology, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA