Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why is Steampunk the style of the moment?

[NOTE: this essay appears in somewhat different form at  In part it was a byproduct of working on the following image, not included as part of the Journal entry there.  Additional thumbnail images appear in the Journal entry as well.]

Vampiric Steampunk by *ebbixx on deviantART

"Realism" (I use that word ironically) has always been a bit of a challenge for me.

Those who shoot photos casually, often don't appreciate how different a photo is, by its nature, from the sort of image that we see in our eyes or our brains. The general assumption has long been that photos are real, even though there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. This has been even more clear than usual for me, in a way, since my recent injury, which did not especially affect my vision, but did have some odd effects on my hearing, and in particular for my tolerance of noise. Maybe too, it may have affected vision and I'm just not aware of the degree that it has had some effect?

Objectivity is a lot harder than we tend to imagine it being.

So, here are some of the images that have struck me in particular, during a week when browsing both watched images and those I've found by happenstance, or in connection with the galleries I've been looking at. You'll see they're all over the place. Maybe I'll separate some of them with text to describe what pulled me to look at them more closely?

Nunellina by *felina222 on deviantART

Rainbow eye by ~AleLaTriller on deviantART

Images about "women" but in most cases something here is surreal, and in some cases no actual woman was photographed. "Nunellina" in particular was so striking that I had to post my first critique/appreciation since coming back.

Then there are the creations of "mankind" (after the jump)

Will survive by *Brute-ua on deviantART

How do we look at this image? Is it simply a church, or does knowing it's among the structures that were abandoned near Chernobyl give it added meaning, and lead to some of us asking questions about human folly, arrogance and pride? And almost certainly each person who views it with that added knowledge will wind up asking very different questions, and coming to very different conclusions?

istanbul night.. by ~ziyakasapoglu on deviantART

Stone and creations made of stone, and metal. Maybe this relates to my daughter's fascination with Steampunk or maybe my own, and maybe it also has to do with seeing Sherlock Holmes in a definitely steampunk-influenced production design? Just what does that mean?

There was a lot in that movie that resonated for me, even though the things I've been collecting, with an eye towards my next journal entry, are not necessarily (or even remotely, in many cases) actively influenced by Steampunk, or by the current conflict between mysticism and technology, or by the aggressive payback or karmic feedback that some might say women are now engaged in, and about which some may be conflicted. I also just recently saw Coraline which, to my view, very much dealt with that particular web of notions, expectations, signs, symbols and attempts to force women to remain objects, regardless of their individual choices, desires or needs.

Okay, that's abstract enough. Mostly I wanted to make sure that my Journal was not implying that I was needing too much in the way of "kid glove" treatment.

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