EXALTING EPIC, HEROIC BEAUTY VIA FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
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All the Best on your Epic Hero's Odyssey!
A Brief History of Dr. Elliot McGucken
Self-taught photographer Dr. Elliot McGucken's "Hero's Odyssey Mythology" photography collection, which now receives over 1,000,000 views/day from all over the world, represents an ongoing pursuit of archetypal beauty which began back in Akron, Ohio when he received his first Pentax. "Dr. E," as his students call him, attended Princeton University on a Judith A. Resnik memorial scholarship where he received a B.A. in theoretical Physics. His NSF-funded dissertation research on an artificial retinal prosthesis, which is now helping the blind see, appeared in NSF’s Frontiers and Popular Science while receiving several Fight-for-Sight grants and a Merrill Lynch Innovations Award. While studying theoretical physics at Princeton, McGucken worked on projects concerning quantum mechanics and general relativity with the late Dr. J. A. Wheeler, and the projects combined to form an appendix treating time as an emergent phenomenon. The research continues to this day, and Dr. E signs all his fine art photography with his theory's foundational equation dx4/dt=ic.
Motivated by a lifelong love of classical mythology, art, and literature--from Shakespeare, to Rembrandt, to Beethoven, to Einstein, to Homer--Dr. E teaches a class centered about epic poetry which opens by reading Homer's Odyssey, and which calls the students to adventure in applying the tenets and themes of classical literature to their own art and lives.
While Dr. E's pursuits may at first seem diverse, in reality they are all unified in a most simple manner--via light. Quantum mechanics and relativity were both born via the study of light, it is light which the artificial retina prosthesis provides the blind, and dx4/dt=ic describes the expanding fourth dimension upon which all photons of light surf. And too, light resides at the center and circumference of all photography which begins and ends as with the celebration and preservation of light and time, originating as fleeting light passes from a majestic landscape on through the camera's lens, and then on out from a photograph for all eternity.
The beautiful Malibu/Socal scenery called Dr. E to action and adventure. He chased the light so as to freeze a bit of that relentless time which fades all the most sublime sunsets and awesome autumn scenes, but for those that we are fortunate enough to capture in art and share with others so that they too might stand were we stood, see the marvel we saw, and feel what we felt. And lastly, as it is the light of mythology that illuminates our very own souls; the greater goal of a photograph becomes to not merely show the vivid colors of a setting sun or a magnificent mountain, but to capture the archetypal sunset that Homer, Odysseus, and Tennyson witnessed, shown in Dr. E's photograph The Sunset of Ulysses. Tennyson wrote of this archetypal, heroic sunset in his poem Ulysses, which all we sojourners, like Odysseus himself, must learn to look beyond, "Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will; To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. " Tennyson caught in poetry what Dr. E aimed for in the photograph--to remind the world to see sunsets not as the end of the odyssey, but as a call to a greater quest:
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are---
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
© Hero's Odyssey Fine Art: The Photography of Dr. Elliot McGucken