A Totemic Tale: Like Kayaking Into a Room Full of People (Paperback)
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A Totemic Tale is a fine art photography book featuring literal optical illusion totemic imagery. A story is woven about two men whose lives are thousands of years apart, and poetry that helps make the spiritual connection between them possible. As each character forms his personal relationship with the imagery in his realm, the proposition is that this vision influenced the design and carving of the first totem poles.
Rock reflections in calm water create visuals that when rotated form a literal optical illusion with strong symmetrical qualities of facial and body shapes, emblems, symbols, clan and ancestral semblances, animals, birds, fish, guardian spirits and mythical creatures.
I wonder whether the same vision inspired the original thought for the carving of the first totem pole thousands of years ago.
Could it be that the early man identified the literal optical illusion then, thus making his experience and vision seem larger than life and bestowing upon him spiritual powers—and by employing the available technology of stone, bone and iron tools, elevate his stature amongst his peers? Could the carving of a totem pole, which would be in public view, unite people to connect past, present and future generations of their realm into a cohesive society?
About the Author
Becoming a photographer became the most sensible way for me to uncover that which is hidden beneath the surface. I studied photography at the Haifa Technion (1967-69)…moved to South Africa and opened my first commercial advertising photography studio in Johannesburg. I photographed for pharmaceutical companies, structural engineering companies, gold and coalmines, earth-moving and mining equipment companies, and some of the larger finance houses (1970-1983). I stumbled into fine art photography whilst discovering a phenomenon of optical illusion that become evident under certain conditions. The relationship between the ‘taking’ and ‘viewing’ angles has become a vehicle of study, uncovering an almost surreal third dimension in the 2-dimensional media, and led me on an endless search for identifiable meaning in all surfaces. After winning a major design competition in South Africa in (1981), I moved to the US. Since my winning entry was based on the principals of my search of perspectives and optical illusions in photography, I have turned my camera in that direction at every opportunity, and have widened the spectrum of my search to include a brain-based approach to identifying patterns and shapes within the abstract. Area of interest I draw my inspiration from nature, and from the various ways the imagery can be presented. In the 2-Dimensional media of photography I search for the third dimension and portray it as an optical illusion. An optical illusion happens when the brain creates and understands an image from unreal or ambiguous information it receives from the rods and cones in the eyes. Ambiguous Illusion - Includes objects that can switch between alternate perceptions where the brain switches between background and foreground repeatedly as the eye hovers over the image. Literal Optical Illusion - Creates images that differ from the objects photographed and become preferable to them. I titled these images “Totemic” because their appearance is extremely close to the totem pole. My particular interest in the totemic imagery stems out of the fact that I am a 21st century photographer facing million of years old rock formations that have appeared in the same way to people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago, that had the same visual capacity to detect the optical illusion created by rotating the visual. The idea that this vision may have led to the design of the totem pole guided me to produce a photographic book that includes a short story and poetry.
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