Investigating the Digital Sublime through Photographers’ Views of Reality: A Case Study of Jaime Kennedy’s ‘Down the Garden Path’

By Yi-hui Huang.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
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 Jaime Kennedy’s project Down the Garden Path as an example. From the analysis of Kennedy’s views of reality, the “unpresentable” substance that Kennedy’s photographs try to present reflects his view on, and visualization of, human being’s greed and desire to control, modify, and “improve” the world. This study has implications for how digital sublime photographs can be studied and taught.

Keywords: Digital Photography, Reality, Knowledge, Aesthetics

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.251-260. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.058MB).

Dr. Yi-hui Huang

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

Dr. Yi-hui Huang is Assistant Professor of Media Communication and Technology at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, PA. She obtained her doctoral degree in Art Education from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on theories of photography, aesthetics, and epistemology. Dr. Huang has presented her researches in national conferences, including National Art Education Association in 2009, and Society for Photographic Education in 2010. 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, IA. Her photographic work explores the emotional transition between two religions, two cultures, and two countries. Dr. Huang exhibits her photographic work internationally, including the U.S. and Taiwan.


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