The Photograph

A wintry morning and a cup of tea


My photo
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:
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.

22 January, 2019

The Tiny Hand of Samuel Armas (In honor of Respect for Life )

Photo from Google Images

In 1999, Michael Clancy captured on film the little hand of Samuel Armas, held here by Vanderbilt University Hospital surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bruner. The iconic element here is the hand of the human fetus, for it represents life, innocence, complete vulnerability.

This is an excellent example of iconic realism in photography, for one usually would not think that the connection between a 21 week old human in the womb and a surgeon could physically take place in this manner. 

One cultural dilemma that this photograph reveals is that even though there exist limitations and possibilities of medical science,  the beauty in the touch of a human hand is a divine statement that life is precious and can be meaningful from the womb... before birth. 

10 January, 2019

Iconic Realism in Three Different Centuries of Art

A medieval depiction of Jean de Meun's Roman de la Rose (photo from Google Images)

 Pieter Breughel's painting, The Fall of Icarus (Photo from Google Images)

Salvador Dali's Rose (Photo from Google Images)

The above paintings, from top to bottom, illustration from medieval poem, Roman de la Rose, Breughel's Fall of Icarus and Dali's Rose, are examples of artistic renderings of this theory. The function of semiotic representation is the reflection of the society in which both the artist and the audience reside. However, the artistic rendering does not necessarily reflect the standard of that community, for the intention of the artist may well be to create a piece that jolts the audience into a need for a cultural change. This would be the reason for an artist employing the use of iconic realism, assisting the audience to become adroitly aware of that aspect of the culture with which they are familiar and its need for transformation.

In Jean de Meun's epylion, Roman de la Rose, a young man is attracted to a 'rose' representing a young woman. The iconic image is the rose, living in a guarded tower. This rose becomes the object of the young man's desire and purpose, but not until he first receives much advice from wise allegorical characters on how to win her heart. The realistic environment in which this wild rose lives illustrates that creating a fortress around those natural impulses only causes the impulse within one's heart to become more instinctively determined.  

In Pieter Breughel's painting, The Fall of Icarus, the spirit of rebellion reveals young Icarus, falling into the sea while the local community turns their attention away from his plight. Here, the self-absorbed society's rejection of the obvious need illustrates a necessity for humanity to attend to others' frailties when they are obviously seeking genuine help. 

Rose by Salvador Dali illustrates an iconic image of a rose, suspended in mid-air above an arid landscape. A small, barely visible and iconic young couple, hold hands amid this arid landscape. This positioning demonstrates that the outer revelation of love can occasionally become even greater, more lovely than those experiencing this emotion could imagine. 

09 December, 2018

Sándor Liezen-Mayer's Painting, "St. Elisabeth of Hungary" and Iconic Realism

Sándor Liezen-Mayer
Saint Elisabeth of Hungary
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

During the Christmas season, we see a lot of paintings depicting the birth of Jesus. As a woman of Hungarian ancestry (Lakatos is Hungarian for 'locksmith'), I was intrigued by this beautiful painting of St. Elisabeth of Hungary by Sandor Liezen-Mayer. Here, we see a Madonna-like figure and her infant child in a lowly state with Elisabeth extending her royal cloak to them.

An example of iconic realism, this painting illustrates the humility of the origins of Christian precepts and the balance of power when this humility extends from all levels of society. Liezen-Mayer does this through the variation of color, shading as well as interaction between the architecture and human figures. Tragically widowed at the age of 20, Szent Erzsébet devoted her short life to charitable works in Germany and Europe. She died in 1231, at the age of 24.

Charles Schulz's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and Iconic Realism (Click onto title to view a scene.)

Photo from Google Images of Charles Schulz's A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz illustrates iconic realism in that Schulz creates a film in which children, independent of adult supervision, prepare a presentation of the meaning of Christmas. Through his humble choice of a tree, the character, Charlie Brown, demonstrates the seasonal message of hope and love while the other children learn that through collaboration they, too, are able to understand the profound seasonal message of tolerance and good will as they create a delightful celebration of Christmas.

May you all be blessed with a lovely Holiday season!

27 November, 2018

Art and Emily Dickinson

(calligraphy is from Dickinson's "The Soul selects Her Own Society," 
"My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close" and "Presentiment")
Click here to see Artists' Project

by Emily Dickinson

Calligraphy Translation: 
The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.
Unmoved, she notes the chariot's passing
At her low gate;
an emperor kneeling
Upon her mat.
I've known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.
I never saw a Moor
My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
Presentiment---is that long shadow---on the lawn---
Indicative that sun goes down---
The notice to the startled grass
That darkness---is about to pass---

By displaying the countenance of this reclusive poet in the midst of so many cultural icons, these two artists, Huang Xiang and William Rock, illustrate iconic realism of Emily Dickinson's poetry. In this painting by William Rock and the calligraphic representation by Huang Xiang, the iconic presence of Emily Dickinson's simplicity in connection with this honorable position illustrates her impact on human consciousness and the importance for humanity to look inward. Indeed, through her darkness, enlightenment has come to many. The use of blue and purple bring to mind the spirituality that surrounds this poet's expression: in her eyes, around the 'upper floor' of her mind and in her heart.