Mythology Study

Greek Mythology Interpretations of Greek Mythology art. My tutor suggested I look at the role of art in Greek Mythology and see how it visually tells a story. I found this website of incredible works of art of the creatures from Greek Myths. Mythology is something I have always loved from when I was very young so I am intrigued to see how the role of art and photography can be together through this. I decided the best way to look at this would be to first ananlyse the elements the artist has brought together and the way the narrative structure works. I worked from the first three photos here  Centuar. This painting is dramatic and powerful, both from the raging sky behind and the the pose of the centaur himself. The eye is immediately drawn to the centaur. The diagonal line of his body leading up to his arm is striking, the fire grabs the eye due to orange being one of the most powerful colours. With the direction of his head and the bow all theses elements lead the eye along the expanse to the bolt of lighting. It’s funny how the two smallest elements are the ones that really catch the eye (apart from the Centaur himself) The colours are in harmony with one another, similar colours create a pleasing composition and give the blue sky room to contrast and be noticeable. It’s also interesting how the only part of the sky that is in focus is around the centaur causing him to stand out fully from the image. Cerberus. The overall photo is very dark both in colour and meaning, the setting perfectly describes Hade’s realm, The Underworld. This causes the eye to be drawn to Cerberus’s many mouths and the fire of the ground it walks on. This is really intriguing though as we have the colour red for once not being the most powerful and dominating force. Yes we can still see it but it’s the orange that attracts the eye. Then moving down the chain to the red. Is this because the light of the colour affects its power? Charybdis. Unique angle that tilts the viewers perception causing them to look deeper into the image. The circular whirlpool is so dominating it sucks the eye completely into the centre. (suiting as the character of this myth is Charybdis, who was interpreted as a sea monster or a giant whirlpool. This could have stopped the viewers journey immediately had the post in the middle not led the eye upwards and followed the fork of lighting to the distant mountain beyond. The flashes of red around the pool serve to highlight the whirlpool. So that is the composition but what about the story. For this we need to look deeper. I’ll focus on the one of Charybdis.. The Story of Scylla and Charybdis. Syclla and Charybdis were both mythical monsters who lived opposite each other. Scylla under a rock and Charybdis inside a larger rock. Their positions meant that sailors passing had to choose which way to go, did they risk their lives with the Scylla or Charybdis? Either way, they had to face one which is where the idiom comes from “Between Scylla and Charybdis” Ie, choose between both evils when each will harm you. A glance at google images shows many variations of the myth though in all the drama of the situation is powerful. Raging oceans and hideous creatures portray the world being created. It can be produced in a linear way. Egyptian Hieroglyphs (sometimes) had plaques showing stories. Or one image can successfully convey the whole story in one go. For assignment three,  I told a story in a linear way broken up with text to show the story. Now I’m interested to see if I can tell a story without relying on words to do the narration. Egyptian Egyptians created art in a different way. Instead of doing their own interpretation, they would create everything exactly as they were seeing it, noting every tiny detail. They didn’t see it as a way to create beautiful art form, they were documenting life as it was. The colours they used also had meanings, for instance, red showed power and strength whereas green and blue showed life. Interesting how the colour psychology comes into this again. I wonder whether different colours are seen with different interpretations in other cultures. Perhaps this would be something to look into. It would be very easy to get side tracked with this study as you research deeper and deeper into the many art forms and the way that different cultures produce them. Then I could study the psychology of why is so different. But I must focus on the photography aspect but always bearing in mind the similar ways in which art and photography interact together as one.

With all this in mind I decided to set up a small photo shoot to capture a few images which told the story of Charybdis without needing words to tell the story.

IMG_1838 IMG_1844 IMG_1845 IMG_1847 IMG_1850I don’t really like the last image but it completes the tragic story.


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