January, 2011 Archives

This picture is interesting because it depicts an absence in a way that does not immediately grab your attention. The absence sneaks up on you only after you scrutinize the building and figure out what kind of a room it is. In my case, I ended up with a somewhat incongruent experience of absence because I am not used to buildings of this type looking this way. So, my experience just keeps switching to a positive experience of the beautiful detail in the interior and the architecture.

I liked this picture because it shows how subtle absences of large objects may be. What are you seeing? Did it take you a while to see an absence or did you notice it immediately? Do you think it has to do with how the picture is taken (the angle or the perspective) or with the character of the building interior?

What’s missing?

A Ringwraith from The Lord of the Rings. There is an obvious resemblance between this image and the previous image I’ve posted. Their contexts, however, are different and I wonder if that affects our experiences. In the previous image, we know that the model’s face is rendered invisible to us due to lighting effects. The Ringwraiths’ bodies, on the other hand, have faded and can’t be seen in any lighting. Does this knowledge alter our experiences? I’m also curious about how specific our experiences are. Are we aware of absence of a female or a male face when we see these images? Or are our experiences indifferent to that?

Face of the Invisible

This picture is from a fashion shoot photographed by Armin Morbach for a German fashion magazine. The model’s face is visible in all the preceding pictures, making its absence in the final picture striking. When I first saw this photo, I immediately thought of the Nazgûl from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The Nazgûl, or the Ringwraiths, are Sauron’s immortal King-servants whose physical form faded with time and became invisible to humans. I wonder if we experience absences of their faces differently than absence of the model’s face since we know that the Ringwraith’s faces are never visible. Image of the invisible Riders coming soon.


I thought it’d be perfect to launch this blog with this screencap of absence. It’s a page I landed on when looking for a template for this blog. After browsing through hundreds of examples, none of which were quite right, I finally spotted a perfect candidate. Excited, I clicked the icon to view the full-size demo. The page loaded, and…  I saw an absence!

You may have seen a different kind of absence when you saw this image — perhaps because you expected something different from the first post (or from this blog).  At any rate, I’ve achieved my result — you saw an absence. Welcome to my blog and expect a lot more violated expectations here.

Electronic absence