The Photograph

Preparing for winter, Danbury, Connecticut.


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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:
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
November, 2016 @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy:
"A Terrible Beauty is Born"...The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism and William Butler Yeats' poem, Easter 1916
November 2017 @ Georgetown University:
Harmony of the Spheres and the Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism in Sydney Owenson's Epistolary Tale, The Wild Irish Girl

Dates pending: I will present the theory of iconic realism at universities and art institutes which have purchased my book.

20 September, 2017

Dante Alighieri's "Paradiso" and Iconic Realism

Photo from Google Images

Dante Alighieri's final book of The Divine Comedy is Paradiso. In this book, he demonstrates the theory of iconic realism in that he aligns the spirit of the beloved Beatrice with the true wisdom of God, yet he simultaneously illustrates the need for humanity to acknowledge the glorious virtues found within the constraints of human interaction. 

CANTO IV, lines 28-39: The souls exist as projections of their truest light, the light that shines directly from God, which is their 'true home' whereas in lines 73-75, what the Pilgrim cannot learn directly must be taught him through analogy involving the senses, human physiological experience. This contradicts the earlier lines that indicate truth as intangible and experienced only through one's own enlightenment. 

The human will does not enjoy freedom to move of its own accord; it acts in response to the intensity of individual motivation. When perfect balance exists between two motives, the will is deprived of its power to move, and becomes paralyzed. A paradox that remains is humanity needs to interact with others but resists the risk of reaching out to make a difference. The result is apathy. 

18 September, 2017

"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:

14 September, 2017

'The Wild Irish Girl' and Iconic Realism

Iconic realism intones throughout Sydney Owenson’s national tale, The Wild Irish Girl, written from a feminine cultural point of view shortly after the British Act of Union 1801.

Sydney Owenson engages in the construction of iconic realism through her interface with the concept of literary harmony elicited from the initial resonance of Irish revolution. She creates characters as iconic representatives of the consciousness that exists in her historical reality, leading her audiences to a recognizable semblance of truth and a basis for future writers to harmonize with the transitioning, historical significance of human consciousness.

Such resonance, which distinguishes between intense reality and strength of the human spirit through iconic realism, occurs in Owenson’s novel, demonstrating the necessity for humankind to relate to one another on a realistic rather than a symbolic level. 

11 September, 2017

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.

03 September, 2017

"Rudy" of the Univ. of Notre Dame football team and Iconic Realism

Daniel E. Ruettiger, "Rudy" of the 1975 Notre Dame football team (Google Images)                                                  

'Rudy' portrayed by Sean Astin in the film (Google Images)

In the film, Rudy, Daniel E. Ruettiger's dream of becoming a member of the iconic Notre Dame football team illustrates iconic realism in that his perseverance led to successful achievement of his personal goal. Not only is this individual's determination an inspiration, the film portraying his struggle has become an American classic, illustrating the cultural belief that a stalwart commitment to a positive dream can contribute to its becoming a reality.

24 August, 2017

Dr. Temple Grandin, a Successful Story of Autism, and Iconic Realism

To view a video of Dr. Temple Grandin, click here:

Dr. Temple Grandin's Website can be found here:

A few years ago, HBO released a film, entitled Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as the title character. This movie tells the life story of Temple Grandin, Ph.D., whose revolutionary method of treating animals in the slaughter houses of western United States has changed the manner which cattle are handled in a more benevolent and respectful manner. This has led to more efficient business practices in the meatpacking industry as well as a higher quality of meat.

As this film illustrates, Dr. Grandin was diagnosed as autistic in the 1950s. Her determination and fortitude placed her in a number of situations which qualify as examples of iconic realism. She was a woman, struggling with her condition and dedicated to work in the 'man's world' of raising cattle for the food industry in the western U.S. during the 1950s-60s, before the women's movement took hold in the 1970s. Moreover, she introduced innovative ways to reach children and adults with autism. 

For that reason, I have placed the wonderful HBO film of Dr. Grandin's life experiences in this category of iconic realism because this iconic figure of a woman, placed in a setting where women were not usually found, brings awareness not only of the condition of autism and the possibilities of individuals who deal with it, but the audience becomes aware of the beef industry and the positive results associated with treating cattle with respect.(Click here to view a trailer for the HBO film.)

17 August, 2017

Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite, Music and Iconic Realism

         A delicate melody flows from a flute. One by one, the oboe, then strings, echo this melody until the orchestra swells with the soft, yet intensely resonating melody. Eventually, every section of the orchestra sings this song of peaceful resolve, as the audience awakens to Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite Number 1, Opus 46.  Grieg introduces the gentlest instruments of the orchestra and gradually blends in the strength of the entire string and brass sections with a calm resonance a listening audience could associate with morning sunrise. Grieg’s opus illustrates iconic realism as each member of the audience attends to this aural depiction of the dawn of something within its consciousness, interpreting possibility in variation with a theme.

       Iconic structures in music include those resonating mechanisms that represent a specific sound source recognized by a community. These aural sources could include human made instruments, the human voice or natural sounds common within a specific environment. For example, the oboe is a wind instrument that produces sounds very close in frequency and intensity to the human voice. In many baroque pieces of music, which were composed during the enlightenment of human culture, the oboe is a featured instrument, which establishes the iconic nature of the oboe within a musical piece constructed of other wind instruments.

         Since the human voice would not naturally be situated in a musical ensemble, the placement of this icon for the human voice provides the listener an opportunity to attend to this iconic realism within the musical genre of artistic expression and feel the dissonant harmonics that naturally resolve to consonance when the oboe blends with the instrumentation. This aural exercise incorporates resonating sound waves with the listener’s memory, which leads to an interpretation of the sound and thus, the association of meaning to the specific sound. 
(from my book, The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context)

02 August, 2017

"The Field of Dreams" and Iconic Realism

Photo of Derek Jeter, formerly of the NY Yankees, from Google Images

From my book, page 57: 
An example of iconic realism in a film would be the baseball field within the 1989 film, Field of Dreams, based on the novel written by W. P. Kinsella and the screenplay written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Throughout the film, the audience knows that the mysterious baseball diamond, carved out of an Iowan cornfield by farmer Ray Kinsella, connects with the sport of baseball. Two iconic factors are present, the sport, which many view as America’s heart and the location, which is the heartland of America.

The realism is the actual grass, the parameters of the field, which consist of the edge of a cornfield and the players, themselves, which are the Chicago Black Socks, a team which had gone through a series of legalities during its prime season. The baseball players are ghosts from this infamous team, who simply wish to play out eternity on a ball field. As the plot unfolds, Ray’s true reason to construct the field revolves around ‘having a catch’ with his father. Therefore, the iconic feature of an authentic baseball field, placed in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa, a very unlikely place for a baseball field, elicits the cultural awareness from the main character. Ray’s illusions of his father were detached from a realistic understanding of his father’s passion, for he very much like Ray, himself, was a hardworking young man, who loved baseball.

Therefore, Robinson’s use of iconic realism in the Field of Dreams illustrates a personal mission of opening the consciousness of America to the conflict within the heart of its people and traditions. The use of illusion and human consciousness illuminate the struggle with personal motivation that produces results as stated repeatedly throughout the film, “If you build it, he will come.” This feature of iconic realism in the Field of Dreams adapts well to contemporary statements of community in iconic characterizations and the realistic dynamics of connection and detachment.