Digital Sublime Photography: A Case Study of Notari’s "Mythic" Project

By Yi-hui Huang.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 296.550KB).

Dr. Yi-hui Huang

Assistant Professor, Department of Media Communication and Technology, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

Dr. Yi-hui Huang is an assistant professor of media communication and technology at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, PA. She obtained her doctoral degree in art education from Ohio State University. Her research focuses on theories of photography, aesthetics, and epistemology. Dr. Huang has presented her researches in national and international conferences. Dr. Huang earned her Bachelor’s degree in advertising in Taipei, Taiwan, and Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from the University of Iowa, Iowa. Her photographic work explores the emotional transition between two religions, two cultures, and two countries.