The Photograph

Autumn in New England!


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Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Dr. Jeanne Iris
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:


I have demonstrated or will demonstrate the application of this theory at the following locations:
March, 2019 @ Boston, Massachusetts, ACIS Annual Conference: "Iconic Realism and Flourishing Irish Females in the National Tale: James Joyce's Molly Bloom and Sydney Owenson's Wild Irish Girl(s)"
November, 2016 @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy:
"A Terrible Beauty is Born...The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism and William Butler Yeats' poem, Easter 1916"
April, 2016 @ University of Notre Dame:
"A 'Daughter of Attila' Speaks: The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism in the Cultural Identity of Irish Celts and Magyars"
Dates pending: I will present the theory of iconic realism at universities and art institutes which have purchased my book.

10 September, 2019

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial and Iconic Realism

(Photo from

I post this every year on 9/11, and will continue to bring it back on the anniversary of that horrific day. No, we will never forget:

The memorial in Washington, D.C. for the Pentagon victims of 9/11 as an abstract object represents each person who died at this location in the terrorist act that day.  The designers, Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, have created the memorial with objects, which appear on the lawn as granite benches, which would normally associate with comfort and relaxation. They also have the appearance of airplane wings, jetting out of the ground. However, the one hundred eighty-four objects, juxtaposed to the lawn outside the Pentagon serves as a reminder of the great loss of life that day. The dedication of this memorial states:

The Pentagon Memorial contains 184 memorial units, each of which is dedicated to an individual victim by its unique placement within the collective field. The field is organized as a timeline of the victims' ages, moving from the youngest, three-year-old Dana Falkenberg to the oldest, John D. Yamnicky, 71.

Each memorial unit is specifically positioned in order to distinguish victims on board American Airlines Flight 77 from victims within the Pentagon. The memorial units representing the 59 lives lost on American Airlines Flight 77 are positioned so that a visitor to the park will face the sky when reading the name of the victim to whom that unit is dedicated. When standing at a memorial unit dedicated to a victim who was inside the Pentagon, the visitor sees the victim's name and the Pentagon in the same view. The simple but elegant memorial units are at once a glowing light pool, a cantilevered bench and a place for permanent inscription of each victim's name.

Through each season, the maple trees' beauty will contribute to the park's atmosphere of peace and remembrance, enhancing each visitor's personal experience of the memorial. (from the Pentagon Memorial website) [1]

The iconic realism of this memorial provides the visitor to this site an opportunity to reflect on the magnitude that this event has had on the culture of the United States of America and the world, in general.

[1] Pentagon September 11 Memorial. 2008.

22 July, 2019

"Dixit Dominus" (In gratitude to Mozart) and Iconic Realism

Cochlea from Medical Dictionary- The Free Dictionary

In the poem below, I demonstrate my semiotic theory of iconic realism by writing a description of the hearing process, but one aspect of that process is unexpected: the cochlea is dormant. This human ear is deaf. Thus, this perfect individual will never hear...Dixit Dominus. (It is God's Word.) I have placed the iconic representation of hearing with an iconic composition, Dixit Dominus to bring awareness of the beauty in all of humanity, especially in those individuals who cannot hear. 

Dixit Dominus 
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

The chorus swells; waves rush in,
their flow controlled 
by the canal's turbid banks. 
Membrane pulsates - 
Malleus, Incus, Stapes
through a liquid universe. 
Electrical impulses meander
in and out and around 
minuscule hair cells within
majestic cochlea, sitting on its throne,
Eighth nerve to the brain reaches out.
Mozart sheds a heavenly tear. 
This perfect one will never hear
Dixit Dominus.

To hear Mozart's Vesperae solennes de Confessore, Dixit Dominus, click onto this link: 

Click onto the link below to see an animation of sound felt along the basilar membrane in the cochlea:

18 July, 2019

Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" and Iconic Realism

Adler Planetarium Astronomy Museum, Art Institute of Chicago

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

Above is a poem by the American poet, Walt Whitman. Here, the speaker leaves an astronomy lecture to step outside the fixed parameters and subsequently, learns first-hand the beauty in viewing the same firmament of which the lecturer speaks, but viewed simply with the naked eye, in silence. By leaving the lecture, the speaker, with knowledge shared by the astronomer inside, now enjoys the silent beauty with appreciated knowledge, but more importantly, with appreciation of the significance of the stars’ natural state. 
This poem illustrates iconic realism in that the subject, constellations in a contrived setting, brings the audience (the speaker in the poem) to a recognition that education of natural phenomena includes the experience of directly connecting humanity with nature. 

I warmly thank the Art Institute of Chicago for purchasing a copy of my book, The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context.

02 July, 2019

A Patriotic Wave

I photographed this little boy, waving to the soldier at a local 4th of July parade. It illustrates iconic realism beautifully, for here you'll see a U.S. Army Jeep, ready for war, yet riding through a typical parade route, filled with families, smiles, hopes, and dreams. This brings to the awareness of the audience that no matter how peaceful a society may seem to be, as long as there is hatred in this world, there will be a need to defend against it. 

A Wave
The jeep moves slowly through the parade route
and from the rear seat, a soldier sits, armed
with a rifle and a wave.

Along the side of the road, 
with his mother by his side, a boy stands, armed
with a camera and a wave.

Across the road, a family looks on;
the father hoists a toddler onto his shoulders
armed with a blue balloon and a wave.

The jeep, painted in desert camouflage, 
ready for war in a distant land,
now travels this country route, thousands of waves away,

past a hopeful mother, a father, a child.
The jeep's flag catches a benevolent wind in its fold,
and weaving peace through its threads, it waves.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos  

30 June, 2019

Christine de Pisan (or Pizan), First Feminist, and Iconic Realism in Roman de la Rose

The Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan
A Norton Critical Edition
Christine de Pisan (or Pizan) was a 14thcentury feminist and writer who illustrated the semiotic theory of iconic realism in many of her writings and particularly in her debate of the French poem, Roman de la Rose. I explain her contribution in the excerpt below from my first book:

The semiotic constructs of symbolism, semantics and linguistic pragmatics provide the leverage for the creative ideas to manifest within each member of the audience. At this point, symbolism becomes a new association of the possibility for recognized imagery with unrecognized reality. A newly formed idea becomes the reality within the mind of the receiving audience, boundless in perception constraints. The audience member receives this reality and conceives the new idea through a multi-sensory experience. In reference to Roman de la Roseand interpretation, Christine de Pisan noted: 

Because human understanding cannot attain to a perfect knowledge of absolute truth and cannot comprehend mysteries on account of the gross, terrestrial darkness which impedes and obstructs true light, so that men draw conclusions from opinion rather than from certain knowledge – for these reasons, debates often arise among even the wisest of men because of differing opinions, each one striving to show by his reasoning that his particular opinion is the true one.[1]

 Through her rhetoric, Christine de Pisan illustrates the complexities involved with interpretation and the possibilities of renewed thought processes. No longer associated with the original idea, the new concept emerges with an energy of its own, with which the audience member can now associate creative action, continuing the creative process of the original thought. Thus, iconic realism magnifies the elements of semiotic theory through renewed perceptions that the receptive audience experiences with an artist’s rendering of reality.  

[1]Christine de Pisan. La Querelle de la Rose: Letters and Documents.trans. Joseph L. Baird and John R. Kane. (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1978).

Excerpt from my book, The Theory of Iconic Realism, © 2008